“People need to know that Jesus loves them!” My beloved sister says this all the time. If someone’s hurting, or broken, or hopeless, Karin offers this simple but profound word for them — that Jesus loves them. For her upcoming birthday, I honor her ongoing commitment to a wounded world.
Jesus Loves Me, This I Know, For the Bible Tells Me So
We learn this as little children, that Jesus loves us. In fact, Jesus says specifically that only those with the heart of a child will understand the profound and simple love he offers.
Red, Brown, Yellow, Black and White, They Are Precious in His Sight
But does he really love everybody? Does he love white people a little bit more? Or straight people? Or churchgoing people? Maybe he loves rich people a little more than poor people… (and that’s why they’re rich)?
He Who Washed Away My Sin, Let This Little Child Come In
Surely the point here is to sin as little as possible because, Jesus loves those who sin less more than those who sin… um, more. Right?
Little Ones to Him Belong, They Are Weak But He is Strong
The answer is, no. To all of this.
Contrary to what we may hear, or say, or think — no matter what we have internalized — Jesus loves us ALL, completely — and infinitely — all the time. No exceptions. No asterisks. No one left out.
This life Jesus offers is not a clique where only the poplar kids get in.
This life Jesus offers in not a country club where only the best situated get in.
This life Jesus offers is certainly not a religious institution where the best behaved and the least sinning get in. Or stay in.
As Jim Palmer says, “Jesus did not come to start a new religion; he came to reveal God. The idea that God could be known simply through interacting with Jesus was a threat to the religious establishment. Heck, if you could experience God directly through Jesus, what did you need them and their religious system for? So, what did we do? We created another religious establishment around Jesus.”
The life Jesus offers is life. Free and clear. Wholeness where there were wounds. Healing where there was pain. Love where there was hatred. Sufficiency where there was scarcity.
That’s what Jesus offers.
Understanding the life Jesus offers, the love and truth he displayed, begins with knowing that you are loved — completely, unconditionally.
So I will say it again:
Whoever you are. Whatever you’ve done. Wherever you’ve been… Jesus loves you, this I know.
[To read more from Susan Cottrell, visit www.FreedHearts.org]
SUSAN COTTRELL is a national speaker, teacher, and counselor with years of Biblical study and discipleship experience. Her books include: Mom, I’m Gay – Loving Your LGBTQ Child Without Sacrificing Your Faith, as well as How Not to Lose Your Teen and The Marriage Renovation. Through her nonprofit organization – FreedHearts.org – Susan champions the LGBTQ community and families with her characteristic tender-heartedness, and she zealously challenges Christians who reject them with her wise insistence that “loving God and loving others” are the foundation of the rest of the scripture, just as Jesus said.
She is the Vice-President of PFLAG Austin, and her “Mom, I’m Gay” book has been endorsed by The Human Rights Campaign and others. Sharon Groves, PhD, HRC’s Religion & Faith Program Director says, “I often get asked by parents for resources that can address the struggles of raising LGBT sons and daughters without having to leave faith behind. Susan Cottrell’s book, Mom, I’m Gay, does just that. This is the kind of book that parents will love.”
She and her husband have been married more than 25 years and have five children – one of whom is in the LGBTQ community. She lives in Austin, Texas, and blogs at FreedHearts.org and here in IMPACT Magazine’s FreedHearts and Jesus Blog columns.