Jesus loves you. Yaaasssss!

One thing I’ve struggled with all my life is that Christian people I knew didn’t have a sense of being loved by the Lord. We’ve sung Yes Jesus Loves Me as long as I can remember. But I saw people who went to church every Sunday and yet there was that sense of rejection or being unworthy even as the pastor preached about the grace of God.
I had an uncle who always refused communion. That didn’t make any sense to me. The whole point of communion is to remember how the grace of God was poured out with the blood of Jesus Christ on our behalf for the redemption of our sin. It was the very first and the only eternal buy-back and we’re the beneficiaries.
My uncle had accepted the call to preach, but never did. He always quoted, “He who puts his hand to the plow and turns back is not fit for the kingdom.” And even as a little kid, it made me cry to see him shake his head every time the communion plates were passed. And he never took communion for the rest of his life.
He wasn’t the only one who had no clue how much the were loved by the Lord. I preached one Sunday on the love of God and a young lady I’d known her entire life, who’d been in church her entire life, cried big old alligator tears out of her beautiful big eyes. It was as if she were hearing the gospel of Jesus Christ for the very first time.
And she confessed after church that she never really heard that Jesus loved her. She thought he loved the people in the Bible and the more perfect people in our church. But not her. These are the earth shattering moments that should shake our churches every Sunday. Realizing God’s love for us is the only thing that begins transformation in our lives for real. We can work on and display different behavior. But the ache inside us is what fuels the hatred and frustration we exhibit within and outside of the church. That same empty ache is the reason a church can dedicate itself to displays of hatred at any funeral they can in any way connect with homosexuality.
That same empty ache is why Christian politicians can spew hate mongering language in the name of the Lord and believe they’re right.
It is also the reason people in the workplace question our Christianity because of the way we interact with them and the public.
If grace isn’t real then we are the more to be pitied. It is the reason we are who we say we are. And if God’s love isn’t authentic then what are we doing?
It has been my reason for being in ministry – to convince people that God loves each and every one of us individually – that we’re not included in God’s family by association. That’s why the right hand of fellowship is extended to each individual when they make the decision to become a member of the family of God through the church.
Because. Yes. Jesus loves you.

{Excerpted from Mustard Seed Mondayz: weekly faithbytes for a year}

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