Dear Susan: Aren’t We Supposed to Want the Best for Each Other?


“Jesus never added a asterisk to his commands to love God and love others. The religion of Christianity has added all the asterisks.”

I love the question today as it represents so many people. They have mostly kind hearts and good intentions, but they are so inside their box, they just don’t see how far from Jesus’ truth they and much of the church has drifted.

I write Dear Susan posts every Friday. Sometimes they will be poignant, sometimes thought-provoking, sometimes tender, sometimes funny… but hopefully always worth the read.  🙂

Here we go…

Dear Susan,

Q You said, “Jesus did not come to teach us Christianity, He came to teach us to love.” I don’t see a contradiction there. I see Christianity summed up like Jesus said … Love God with your whole self and love others as yourself. But “love” gets further defined as serving and accepting each other and speaking truth as we pursue God’s best for one another. Aren’t we supposed to want the best for each other?


Dear Reader:

A They say that the most important thing anyone says is what comes AFTER the “but” – and after your “but” you said “love gets further defined…”

Defined by whom?!?

I like the idea of what you say, but practically the church has never carried it out. Remember, not long ago the church thought it was best for the races not to marry, for people to own slaves, for women not to vote, for women not to be in leadership at church — oops, sorry if I stepped on someone’s toes there — the list goes on.

Where your statement becomes impossible is when the church is the one determining what is “best for each other.” That is eating off of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, instead of the Tree of Life.

Jesus never added a asterisk to his commands to love God and love others. The religion of Christianity has added all the asterisks. Our job is to love God and love others, and trust the Spirit with everything else in our lives and in others.

Certainly, I concede that I have benefited by those who could speak in a loving way, as the Spirit moved them, and I was able to receive. I have done the same for others. But never have I benefited from someone with a heart of condemnation or correction… for me or as a blanket statement for a group of people.

Jesus doesn’t even do that — who are we to do it?

What Jesus taught, the way he interacted with people, his attitude toward the religious leaders and the religious establishment, his examples and statements about behavior and the law, how he forgave, are very different from today’s Christianity for the most part.

We must disentangle Jesus from Christianity in order to discover His truth. And it is his truth that will set you free.

– Susan


*If you have a question for “Dear Susan” please email it to Please put ‘DEAR SUSAN’ in the subject line.


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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 Faithas well as How Not to Lose Your Teen and The Marriage Renovation. Through her nonprofit organization – – 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 and here in IMPACT Magazine’s FreedHearts and Jesus Blog columns.