The Big Deal: Does God Love Me?
THE BIG QUESTION:
“Does God love me just the way I am?”
“Does God judge me because of my choices and mistakes?”
BEEN THERE, ASKED THAT
For a long time I didn’t want anything to do with God. I kept him out of my life. I thought he looked down from heaven and disapproved of my behavior and decisions. I could never live up to a standard he approved of, so why would he like me, let alone love me, with all my faults? I thought God only judged and condemned.
Perhaps some of this thinking originated from my upbringing. I was brought up in a church with a lot of rules — what you should do, what you shouldn’t do — that seemed important in getting God’s approval. I sensed other people, particularly Christians, criticized wrong behavior. And so I projected that belief onto God.
This kind of thinking about God is wrong.
To have a right understanding of what God is like, we must look at Jesus. Jesus said about himself, “If you’ve seen me, you’ve seen God.”
When we look at Jesus’ life, it’s noticeable how he hung out with the most shameful people. What would that look like today? He’d put his arm around the woman who’s desperate for true love, but has slept with more men than she’d like to admit. He’d crouch on the sidewalk at the corner of 14th St and 6th Ave beside the woman who has no shoes, no home, and no one who cares for her. He’d sit close to the girl worse for wear on the subway at 1:00 a.m. because she’s had a horrid week.
Would he find fault with their lifestyles? Actually, no!
SO WHAT’S THE TRUTH?
God said he’d rather condemn his own Son, Jesus — the one who is perfect — than convict you and me. That makes my heart tighten in a knot — you know the kind of feeling when you suddenly realize someone actually likes, or even loves you a lot?
The Bible says Jesus came to earth as the last Adam. (Sounds a bit weird, I know.) The first Adam messed it up for us. The second one came to put it right for us.
So when Jesus started telling people his purpose on earth — to be sentenced in our place — he announced it as the time of God’s favor. In other words, this is the time of God’s mercy and forgiveness. It was like Jesus said, “Celebrate, have a party and make the most of this moment.”
“All you have to do,” said Jesus, “is believe in me and you’ll receive God’s kindness.”
It’s that easy? Yup.
What you’ve done in life doesn’t disqualify you from being accepted by God. He loves you and wants to shower you with his compassion.
GETTING THE TRUTH INSIDE US
Keep the words below in a handy place. Read and reread them until they are seared in your mind.