Jesus likes me! Really!

If there was ever a question with a predictable answer - at least among Christians - here it is: "Does God love me?" Of course He does. God loves everyone, doesn't He? I mean, we all know there's only one acceptable answer to the question. Even if we don't really believe the answer.

A more interesting question might be, "Does God like me?" That, as they say, is "a whole 'nother matter."

As I have asked people these two questions, invariably they answer, without hesitation, yes, God loves me. But very often, when I ask the second question, they get a distant look, sort of a sad expression, and shaking their head, they say, "No, I don't think so."


This is profoundly sad, and I would argue it's also untrue.

A couple days ago - Memorial Day - we had a cookout at our house. Nothing unusual, right? We had 30 people, including 10 Americans, and 20 Burmese refugees. A little more unusual, but still not a big deal. We've done it before with fewer Americans and more Burmese. Getting to be routine.

The big deal for me was the weather forecast: rain. Heavy rain and thunderstorms, all day. And in this case, the forecast was correct. In the morning, it poured. Mid-day, it poured. All day Sunday, I prayed, and all Monday morning, I prayed. And mid-day, I prayed. "Please, Lord, stop the rain. Please, please, please. God, do you love me? Stop the rain!"

We told people to come after 3, and at 3:01 the first group of our Burmese friends arrived. I was lighting the fire, planning that we would eat at 4:00. And praying. Our house is not a large one, and 30 people with food inside is not pleasant to consider.

A few minutes after 3, the rain stopped. And we had sunshine and dry weather until the last couple left at about 7:00, when it began pouring again. I was happy. God loves me. I think God even likes me.

But here's the thing: God truly does love me, and I'm confident - from scripture - that He even likes me. And that would be true even if it had rained all over our cookout.

It's important to base our status with God on what He says, and not on how we feel.

God loves us! And God likes us! The fact that we have trouble with that second one is because we generally don't much like ourselves. And since - we think - nobody knows me better than I know me, and I don't think I'm such hot stuff, it reasonably follows that God doesn't think so, either.

Jesus calls us his friends. Do you make friends with people you don't like? Neither does He.

It's not uncommon in our culture for us to struggle with a sense of self worth. Many of us put up a front, and are unwilling to let others know us, or even know ourselves, because of what we think we are.

But here's the truth: We are of great value. We are God's prized possession. Jesus not only likes us, He values us enough to die so that we could know him and the Father. That's the truth. It's what God said. And the best thing we can do is keep repeating it to ourselves until it gets firmly stuck in our heads. It's the truth: God loves me, and God likes me.

And it would be true even if He had not stopped the rain.

6 Comments

I often feel unworthy of Gods love or liking but in its simplicity your closing paragraph reassured me more than hundreds of days of soul searching has previously.

It has taken, what? At least seven years of knowing you to help me understand, in my heart, the deep love and tenderness of God towards me. You were the first to direct me to other writers (Brennan Manning) who can even begin to wrap their heads around the concept of God's delight in us.

I am starting to hear this message more and more in the church I am attending, but it seems to me that we have a long way to go in order to make this message known to so many who desperately need to hear it. All we have to do is look at the wasteland that scatters about the landscape of people so hungry to know the that love they so desperately seek is right there for them in the person of Jesus Christ. He longs for them to know that He is interested in their story. He is interest in THEM.

Instead, we spread a message of judgement which causes dispair if the solution (Jesus) is not also preached. To me, one of the things I love most in the gospel accounts of Jesus' interactions with people was that he saw the person first, then their sin. He showed love and mercy first, and through that, he empowered us to "Go and sin no more."

Every time read where Jesus calls us friends, or tells us that He loves us, it is like a knife tearing into my heart. It is the surgeon's knife of the Great Physician replacing the lies of my feelings of unworthiness with the truth of his unending love for me.

I welcome the sweet, almost unbearable pain.

I do appreciate reading your statements referring to His love for us. I know that as a man with a few struggles in my own life I can understand how easy it is to become focused on my self doubt as well as other insecurities to point of wondering about my worthiness of His love let alone others who are supposed to be close to me. I guess that the one thing to be mindful of is that as our creator He is the only one who offers us truly unconditional love while holding the authority to judge us on our existence in accordance with His Laws as well as our Faith in what he has offered as in Salvation.
Just a thought. Not trying to impose my opinion.

Terry,

Don't worry about imposing your opinion. Hard to do on a blog in any case. But please feel free to say what you believe. It's an important topic and you might add something to an important discussion.

I appreciate your comments. I think grasping the depth of God's love for us is perhaps the most difficult part of following Jesus. Galatians suggests that God loves us with the same depth and intensity with which he loves Jesus. That is beyond amazing to me. And when I tend to think of myself in a way that focuses on my mistakes and outright sins, it's hard for me to see myself in the same way God says he sees me.

But until I make a choice to believe God instead of myself, to believe truth, whether it feels right or fits my own biases about myself, I can't grow into the likeness of Jesus, and I can't experience the rich life that Jesus brings for us. Choosing to believe myself and not God is, in the end, sin.

Thank you for your rsponse Larry. My prior comments were my first attempt at this blog as means of communication. Anyway i agree with your point about having that belief in Him more than ourselves. I guess with that having been said, it thus shows that we can never truly know His all purposes for us knowing our fallibility as His creations. It also displays how much we have to work to overcome those humanistic traits in our battle to humble ourselves to raise our levels of faith. But It is crucial that we also recognize the blessing of His Love that we are here to engage in such a struggle as well.

I find it interesting that a great many Christians hold that we are saved by grace through faith alone, and then spend their lives struggling and fighting to "overcome the flesh" totally in their own power.

Salvation is by grace alone. And life -- living out our salvation -- is also by grace alone. Our task is, according to Jesus, remaining vitally and deeply attached to the Vine, which is the source of the rich, full fruitful life that God intends for us in Jesus.

Is there a struggle? Yes, that's been my experience. But the struggle is not with sin or self-image, but in keeping our focus on Jesus and our attachment into the Vine. This is what lets the Holy Spirit flow into us and bring forth the life of Jesus in us.

Leave a comment












Loading tweets:

Follow us on Twitter!

  • Larry Baden said:
      I find it interesting that a great many Christians hold that we are sa...
  • Terry said:
      Thank you for your rsponse Larry. My prior comments were my first atte...
  • Larry Baden said:
      Terry, Don't worry about imposing your opinion. Hard to do on a blog ...
  • Terry K. said:
      I do appreciate reading your statements referring to His love for us. ...
  • Norah L said:
      It has taken, what? At least seven years of knowing you to help me un...
  • Christine said:
      I often feel unworthy of Gods love or liking but in its simplicity you...

home quodlibet journal theo blog sermons theology e-texts church history forum home