Self Centered Salvation

When I brought my oldest daughter home from the hospital, every bit of confidence melted away as I went about changing my squirmy baby's diapers. I couldn't calm every cry and the first time of rocking this baby through the night proved to be awkward. I found myself not remembering one lullaby. I felt like a failure as a mom as I struggled to think of one thing to sing to soothe her and then "Jesus Loves Me" came to mind.

If you attended any sort of Sunday School class or Vacation Bible School as a small child you were taught "Jesus Loves Me". The words are:

Jesus Loves Me this I know,
For the Bible tells me so,
Little ones to Him belong,
They are weak but He is strong.

Yes, Jesus loves me...
Yes, Jesus loves me...
Yes, Jesus loves me, the Bible tells me so.

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It's a sweet song to teach little ones. Easy to remember and so very comforting. Lately, however, I feel like many Christians tout this lullaby as some sort of self centered salvation message.

Social media and 24 hour news cycles afford us the knowledge of world happenings in real time. We are also able to read others' opinions about these events in real time and give our own. I am sad to see that many believers are using these tools to send a message to the world that sounds like, "Yes, Jesus love ME but not you."

I can't find anything in Scripture where Jesus tells us to go into all the world and tell others how much He loves us but not someone else. Even non Christians know the most basic pillar of our faith: For God so loved the WORLD, He gave His one and only Son. (John 3:16) The verse says "world", not "a chosen few". I can't find one command from Him that says, "Chastise and shame everyone you know who is sinning or who disagrees with you." Also important to note is that a disagreement does not constitute sin. It's God's job to judge and know someone's heart. It's the work of the Holy Spirit to work in and change someone's heart. Our salvation is a gift we should be grateful for but it should lead us to love others and not condemn. Our salvation in Christ should never be used a sword to cut others down.

Some hard line folks might disagree with me. Some might say Jesus called us to be the salt and light of the world. That we are to salt the earth with His truth and word. I don't think Jesus meant for us to destroy relationships in the process. If we are unable to convey and model that the Gospel is for all we have missed the mark. There is nothing about Jesus' words that teach an "us and them" attitude.

Imagine going about your day singing that sweet lullaby to the folks you encounter. "Jesus loves YOU this I know, for the Bible tells me so." How simple. It might change the way you respond to the politically charged post on your friend's page. Maybe you wouldn't respond at all and you would just pray for that person. How might it change the way you respond to the waitress who got your order wrong? Would you talk to your boss differently?

We have to be careful to not ruin the Gospel for others. It should be the greatest gift we've ever received. We should be so excited to wrap it up and re-gift it! The Bible says God loves us so much that He sings over us. (Zephaniah 3:17) What if you took that attitude from the Lord and sang over everyone you encountered today?

Sometimes, when it comes to grace, it's like my first night home with a new baby. Just as I didn't have a full medley of lullabies on my tongue, we don't always know how be grace-filled. All the facets of motherhood didn't come naturally to me. I had to learn the lullabies and the different ways to soothe my crying baby. The grace walk is similar, we must learn it and practice it daily until it becomes natural.

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