It’s good to be discerning. Discernment is what keeps you from selling all of your stuff, quitting your job and moving to Montana just because some guy who sounded an awful lot like Jesus told you to.
But it’s also possible to overdo it with discernment. Take The History Channel’s miniseries The Bible, for an example. From what little I have seen it looks pretty good. Not perfect of course, but good. But some will let the social media world know that they won’t be watching The Bible because it seems to take an old earth creationist view, the guy who plays David is too tall and their favorite author was never consulted in the making of the film.
A while back I found myself overdoing it with discernment.
It all started with a song.
Everyone was raving about some new song about how God loves people. By the time I sat down to listen to the song my mind was already made up. I was like Comic Book Guy on The Simpsons.
Worst episode ever.
Worst song ever.
Why? Well, because the song was just about God’s love.
Just God’s love.
In my thinking during that moment, in order for a worship song to be legitimate it had to wrestle with something deep. But not love. That’s for the precious little minds at Ms. Emily’s Early Learning Center.
But maybe the doctrine of the love of God is deeper than we think. Without it, there’s no baby born in a manger. Without it there is no atonement for our sins. Without it, everything falls apart.
God’s love is the basic story line that we see throughout scripture. And it applies just as much for us today as it did in the days of Noah, Abraham and David.
This is important to know because sometimes we can be quick to doubt that God loves us.
The woman who struggles to have a baby but keeps miscarrying wonders if each lost baby is a reminder of God’s ever growing hatred for her.
The man diagnosed with a terminal illness is tempted to think that God is too busy to care, that is even if that God exists.
Thankfully, there is proof. Not just of God’s existence but of God’s love for us.
But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:8 (ESV)
When the baby never comes, the illness will not go away or no one responds to your resume and you begin to question God’s love, look to the cross for affirmation.
The cross does not affirm us in our inherent goodness. In fact, it does just the opposite. The reason that the cross exists is due to our inherent badness.
But God loved us anyway.
Enough to give us his only Son.
And that’s the beauty of God’s love. While we were still his enemies, he rescued us from sin and death. How much more must his love for us be now that, through faith and repentance in Jesus, we are his children?
Once I told my son that I love him. His response floored me.
“I knew you were going to say that.”
“How? How did you know that I was going to tell you that I love you?”
“Because you always say it.”
As he was dying on the cross, with all of the breath and strength he could find, Jesus said, “It is finished” (John 19:30). His work is complete. His love is not.
Jesus loves you.
And even today, he’s always saying it.