Friday, May 17, 2013

I love you

I love you. Those are the three most powerful words in the English language. From the time we are born, we not only long to hear those words but know they are true. The most important thing we need to know as a baby is that Mom and Dad love us. Sadly, many of us grew up not knowing that to be true. The two people who should have loved us the most didn't.

As we grow up, we seek to know we are loved by others -- by siblings, aunts, uncles, teachers, friends, acquaintances, bosses, etc. We perform our best. We do our best to earn the love and acceptance of those we meet. If that doesn't work, we do our worst just to gain attention as a substitute for being loved. If we are not loved or do not feel loved, we will do much to fill the hole in our hearts that it leaves. We will dress like others to be accepted. We will do what others do hoping to fit in. We will hold onto unhealthy relationships, we will socialize, we will serve others, we will give away our money, we will give our time, we will drink, we will take drugs, we will even kill just to be loved and accepted.

I love you. We need to hear those words daily. We need to be touched so we know we are loved. We need people to spend time with us to know we are loved. We need to receive gifts to know we are loved. We need to be served and receive acts of kindness to know we are loved. We need to be praised and told we've done well to know we are loved. Gary Chapman author of The Five Love Languages believes that we speak and hear 5 different love languages to communicate love.We all need physical touch, gifts of love, quality time spent with us, acts of service, and words of affirmation to feel loved.

Are you loved? Do you have parents who love you? Do you have friends who love you? Do you have a spouse who loves you? Do you have children who love you?

There must be at least one individual in your life who loves you. If not, you could not survive. Being loved is that important. CASA, an organization fighting child abuse states "'No child can live without love' is a powerful and truthful statement. Growing up in a loving environment and being shown love is fundamental to a child’s development."

The good news is there is at least one individual who loves you. He knows you intimately. He knows all the good things you've done. He knows all the bad things you've done. He knows every lie and every truth. He knows when you've loved and when you've hated. He knows when you've given and when you've taken. He knows every fault, every hidden thing about you. And he loves you. He loves you passionately. He loves you unconditionally. He desperately wants you to know how much he loves you.

There is nothing you can do to earn this individual's love and there's nothing you can do to stop him from loving you. He loves you as you are right now. He's loved you since before you were born. He will love you long after you've died.

His name is Jesus Christ. Yes, Jesus Christ. Jesus loves you. He passionately loves you. He desperately wants you to know he loves you. You can't earn his love. You can't do anything that will stop him from loving you.

There is, however, a problem. The problem is that you've done things that separate you from God. You see God is righteous and holy. He's never done anything wrong. He is love. He is good.

You and I have done many things that are not loving to both ourselves and others. We hurt others. We hurt ourselves. This both grieves God because he loves us and separates us from God. God's law is a law of love. He tells us to love him because he first loved us and to love ourselves and others. His command is to love him and love others perfectly. We fail to do both.

God is also just. There is a penalty for the things you do wrong. That penalty is death. Death would separate you from God forever. God does not want that. He wants to be with you forever. He loves you.

So, God provided a way to both satisfy his justice and his love. He took the penalty for the unloving things you've done upon himself. Jesus came to this earth, lived as a man and died. He lived a perfect life of love. He died for you, taking the penalty you deserve. Having done this, God has provided a bridge to himself for you. All you have to do is accept his love and cross the bridge by believing that Jesus died for you because you've done unloving things. Believe this and God will forgive you. God gives us all a choice. We can choose to remain condemned for our disobedience to God's law of love or we can choose to accept his payment for our guilt and be reconciled to him and his love.

There is a catch. The catch is that if you accept Jesus, he will begin to change you because he loves you. He knows the unloving things you do hurt you and others he loves. So he will give you the power to change when you submit to his reign in your life. You will also be so overwhelmed with his love for you that you will want to serve him and others. You will want to tell others about his love.

God is not out to deprive you of good things. On the contrary, he wants to give you the best. Following him and living by his loving commands is the best.

You may be skeptical of this. This may seem too good to be true. But what if it is true? Is it not worth investigating? I challenge you, look into this. See if it is true. Ask a Christian friend. Tell that friend you are skeptical but want to know the truth. Read a Bible. Read the gospels and examine the life of this man Jesus. Read books by former atheists like C. S. Lewis' 'Mere Christianity' or Lee Strobel's 'The Case for Christ.'

You'll find these three words are true: 'Jesus loves you.' Yes, you. As you are. No conditions. He loves you. He made you. He wants to spend an eternity with you. Yes, Jesus wants to touch you, to spend time with you, to give you gifts, to serve you and to affirm you. One day he wants to say to you, 'I love you, my child. I'm so joyful that you let me love you. I'm so joyful you let me change you. I'm so joyful you let me serve others through you. Well done. Come near now and be with me and my father forever.'This is about the greatest and truest love that any of us can find.

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