My four-year old, Josiah, approached me with his Action Bible last night. Behind his bright brown eyes the wheels of his little inquisitive mind were churning.
“Hey daddy, who’s that?” he pointed to a picture of a thorn-crowned man hanging on a cross. (He knew the answer.)
“But who’s that?” he pointed to the thieves on either side, betraying his real question.
“Two bad guys….Jesus died with bad guys to show that He died for bad guys….because He’s the good guy.”
“Even when we’re bad guys, Jesus died for us and loves us.”
“Oh….I love Jesus,” he said. That little confession from the lips of my child is enough to make a Puritan do the cabbage patch.
At our worst moment, worst sin, worst stumbling, most clumsy tripping and cursing and falling off the cliff of our own foolishness; He loves us in that moment, in the blessed now.
Not what we’ll become when we figure out this religion thing. What we are in the present.
Not when we’ve modified our behavior to appease a cultural Christian standard yoked around our throats. He takes all our hangups and foulups and chokeholds and then crushes the Son with them in an everlasting display of love.
This is an eternal, and to the hardened world, strange love.
Josiah is sometimes illogically mean to his younger brother, Gideon. I am often unfeeling and impatient with my younger weaker “brothers.” Jesus loves us both.
Josiah sometimes doesn’t share his favorite toys with others. I often don’t share my resources and money with the ministries and poor who need it most. Jesus loves us both.
Josiah whines and pitches fits when he has to clean his room. I haven’t washed my car in ages (ever?). My wife can attest to my consistent inability to pick up my shower towels. Jesus loves us both.
Depending on the hour of day, Josiah and I can be cantankerous, immature, unthoughtful, and selfish. We are both grateful for the good guy who loves and died for bad guys.
Like my little boy, I need an undeserving love lavished on me everyday.
A no-strings-attached no-prerequisite-required love new every morning.
The lifelong confession of professional stumblers and bad guys can never be more simple or profound:
Jesus loves me and died for me.