If we were to embody the over-the-top “praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” language of these passages we would be different people. By that I mean we would be more generous, more forgiving, more loving, more Christ-like to ourselves and as a result to others. Truth is all of our less than loving behavior towards others comes from a less than loving acceptance of ourselves. Our inability to love who we are comes from the belief that we are less than worthy of being loved or on the flip side a belief that we are more than worthy of being loved, which in a strange way is really the same thing. I know I’m oversimplifying things but I don’t think I’m breaking new ground in the thought that those who know and believe and accept that they are loved “lavishly” (1:8) period-end-of-sentence love in the same way. But then we know too much about ourselves, even if we are well schooled in the discipline of denial, to believe a perfect Being could tolerate “sinners” such as ourselves. But what if we were to accept that the God who exists beyond time and space is not that different from the very best parent among us who is inextricably connected to the child of their desire and could no more condemn them to hell on earth or beyond than we could and grieves every moment of separation? And more than that, that God, who in good pleasure loves lavishly, depends on the effects of such radical acceptance to transform self-centered individuals into those who live for the praise of God’s glory. Of course that’s the kind of love that got Christ crucified but then maybe lavish love takes crucifixion as a given.