The best news ever. God still loves us. He has not abandoned us. Every hope we’ve ever had— that someone would find value in us, would think we were worthy of love, would find us enjoyable and attractive and pleasing and worthwhile— is met in Him. God Himself loves us!
Paul wrote in Romans, if you put your trust in Jesus, there is no condemnation for you. None. You are off the hook. This is so stunning, so hard to actually believe, because nothing else in the world seems to work that way. It’s not based on my performance? It’s based on what God has done for me? He loves me because . . . He just loves? It’s who He is? He’s not constantly evaluating my religious “goodness”? He’s not angry with me? Seriously?
But here’s a bigger problem, and it’s based on years of interacting with thousands of self-described Christians: It’s not merely that we’re not attentive to the fact that God loves us. I suspect many of us actually just don’t believe it.
I suspect this because our behavior gives us away. After all, what we believe isn’t what we say we believe; it’s what we do. And what many of us do, as far as I can tell, is strive and strain and push and pull and work and worry and even anguish to try to somehow win favor with a Father who’s already pleased with us. I could spend an hour on the radio, reciting scriptures about how we are now no longer under law, and how, if you’ve put your faith in Jesus, God has adopted you into His family, and I already know the inevitable response: Christians lined up to tell me it’s not really quite true, that the real issue is that we need to stop sinning right now and work harder.
No wonder we get so angry. We’re displeased with others because we’re convinced God is displeased with us. We “believe” God loves us, but we suspect it’s provisional, based on whether we ever get our act straightened out. That’s a lot to carry. If Christians are indeed the most easily offended people on the planet, this burden would go a long way toward explaining why.
Hansen, Brant (2015-04-14). Unoffendable: How Just One Change Can Make All of Life Better (Chapter 16). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition. Buy it here for £1.99.