If a misguided father, in the interests of preventing pride from taking root in his children, offered criticism after criticism, the results would not be what he anticipated. Instead of rearing humble children, he would bring up neurotic and jumpy children. “What is it now?” would be their constant internal question. But another father who praised, honored, accepted, delighted in, and rejoiced over his children would be bringing up secure children, children who are able to forget themselves in the interests of others.
Now we are at the Lord’s dinner table, where many of these conversations take place. What kind of father do you think He is? Which father represents our heavenly Father best? Far too often we slander Him, as though He were like the first father in the illustration. We pretend that we are being severe with ourselves, when we are actually misrepresenting Him.
You are here, at His Table. Forgiveness has been declared over you. You have heard the Word proclaimed. You have sung psalms and hymns to Him, and all of it has been received in the Lord Jesus. You are seated here, and you are welcome here. You are seated in the company of the blessed, and you are not the odd man out. This is your home. This is your meal. These are your people. He is your God. Quiet your fears. Set them aside. My commission as a minister is to tell you to set them aside. Did God pay the price He paid in order to be able to bring you in here to snarl at you? Of course not. Come and welcome.