Rewind, if you will, to the CCD classroom. You were told, “Jesus loves you” and you made arts and crafts loosely related to the guy. There was hardly any theological depth, it was mostly making us feel good with the realization that God is good. Oh, and depending on the teacher, there would be snacks, cookies and whatnot.
There is, I think, far too heavy an emphasis on God being a “nice guy”. We envision Jesus with kids on His lap, patting their heads, and He goes around telling everyone He loves them and they’re great and all that. Not only do we make our blessed Lord overly sugary in His dealings with people, but we have a tendency these days to forget about what He really is: the King of kings and Lord of glory Whom we crucified by our sins.
I’m certainly not denying Jesus’ love for us. He died because He loved us, and “greater love than this no man hath” (John 15:13). But “love” and “being nice” are not the same thing. Love is to desire the good of another. That doesn’t necessarily involve niceness and sappy language. Your parents, for example – they admonish you when you do something wrong because they love you and want what’s best for you, yet this hardly involves them being nice.
The incarnate Word was not very “nice”. In fact, He was often pretty blunt, especially when it came to the Pharisees. He spared no harsh words for them. He even said to the Jews, “If I said I did not know God, I would be like you, a liar. But I do know Him and keep His word” (John 8:55). That’s pretty strong, isn’t it?
Jesus wasn’t an “I’m okay, you’re okay, and let’s all just get along” type of person. He always spoke of “repenting, for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand” (Matt 4:17) and “going forth and sinning no more” (John 8:11). He said He would vomit the lukewarm out of His mouth (Revelation 3:16). He made a whip and chased people out of the Temple, scattering their coins and overturning their tables (John 2:15), something pretty scary to anyone who’s examined his conscience. He destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah with fire (Genesis 19:24).
Our Lord is not a hippy. Yes, He loves us, yes, He forgives us no matter how many times we sin, but He has definite expectations and, as “God over all, blessed forever” (Romans 9:5), I think we should listen to His wishes.
His blessings to you,