Proof of God’s Love.
“How do I prove to someone that God loves them?”
This is the question that was recently posed to me by a very good friend. We were discussing the struggles of tangibly feeling the love of God. The conversation was a difficult one to dissect. I mean, how do you explain to someone such Christian-ese idioms like “Surrender it into the arms of the Savior” or “Give it to God” or “Leave it at the cross”? Of course, when certain friends begin to think about their experiences and wonder why they have never felt the embrace of God, it leads to questions such as the one posed above.
Though there are real meanings and symbolisms behind many of these sayings, they typically are used as bail out statements when the words “I don’t know” or “I don’t have that answer” would be much more honest and realistic.
Interestingly, I have had very few conversations where people are truly shocked that God loves them, because they usually agree with God… “Hey, I love me too, what a coincidence!”. James 4:4 tells us that friendship with “the world” is “enmity with God”. Well how do I reconcile that verse with the question posed? It’s simpler than we make it.
The message of the gospel doesn’t start with love, it resolves with love. To receive good news of God’s love, shouldn’t people have an understanding of the bad news? Should we not first investigate how God currently views that person?
Some people might need to immediately hear “God loves you” because the bad news is obvious to them and they know where they stand before God. In my personal experience, I have found that many people need to hear a sharper truth which is… “You are God’s enemy”… maybe not so bluntly, but they need to understand that in their carnality, they are God’s enemy (Romans 8:7). They need to feel, well, uncomfortable.
Maybe the conversation looks more like walking them through the mirror of the 10 commandments (google “The Good Person Test”), maybe the convo looks like Jesus’ discussion with the woman at the well in John 4 or maybe it looks like Paul reasoning with those on Mars hill and discussing the “Unknown God” in Acts 17. Whatever path that you take in helping others understand the “bad news” so that the “good news” is, well, good… that’s what we should do.
What we should not do is cast our conversations into the holy bucket, check it off our list and then move on. Ideally we are talking to people whom we love and care about… even if we just met them. In creating relationships and working on those relationships, these conversations always become less “PC” and more real… which is EXACTLY where we want to be!