I can almost guarantee I will get a song stuck in your head. All I have to do is type the first four words and many will instantly start to know the tune and finish the phrase, “Jesus loves me this…”
Having spent even a small amount of time around a Vacation Bible School, or Sunday School for little kids, you no doubt encountered that song and are able to finish it, “…this I know, for the Bible tells me so…” Over the past few days this song has been stuck in my head following an assignment I gave my seventh grade Bible class. I don’t want to go against the theology of the song, but I want to challenge you to take a different perspective on the song and see if it can impact the way in which you live your life.
I have been going through Jesus’ final days on earth with my students as Easter approaches. I wanted to give them a thorough account of all the events that took place ultimately leading up to Jesus being crucified and three days later his resurrection. One night I assigned the students homework and had them answer questions that caused them to reflect on the information presented in class that day, specifically regarding the physical pain Jesus suffered prior to, and on the cross. I didn’t catch it at first, but was soon realizing how many answers included phrases such as, “I feel more love toward Jesus because of what he did for me” or “Jesus loves me that much to go through all the pain” and a few stated, “Jesus did that just for me”
After reading a number of answers, the children’s song popped into my head, “Jesus loves me this I know…” Again, I do not find anything theologically wrong with the song, nor do I think it is incorrect to remind ourselves of the love Jesus has for us.
But, what if we took time to focus on Jesus’ love for others, would it change the way we view and treat them? What if instead of singing about how Jesus loves me we insert the name of someone we know? (Names made up and do not reflect any specific people I know) How does our attitude change when we start to sing, “Jesus loves Matt, this I know…” What if we were to create a list of names of people we struggle to get along with. Nobody is perfect and there are more than likely at least a few people who make us cringe every time their name is brought up in conversation. There are those who we avoid. Those we don’t want to love. Take a moment and insert their name into the song, or one of the answers given by my students. “Jesus loves Andy that much to go through all the pain.” Or “Jesus did that just for Caroline.”
Sometimes I feel like it is easier to accept the fact that Jesus died for me, than it is for me to accept the fact that Jesus died for _______. We complain about other people. We judge other people. We get frustrated with others. Yet, how would our attitude toward others change if we look at those around us and think, “Jesus died for him.” To be reminded that Jesus’ blood was shed for Lindsay just as much as it was shed for me, changes the way I view her.
As Easter approaches, I challenge you to take time not only to reflect on God’s love for you, but to specifically reflect on God’s love for those around you. He loves them, and he went to the cross in order to extend his grace and mercy to them.