In his book the “Ragamuffin Gospel”, Brennen Manning asks us to imagine walking through the gates of Heaven and God asking, “Did you believe I really loved you?”
I have a friend who is passionate about people saying yes to this question. In fact, she is so passionate many of us refuse to go places like the grocery store with her. She is that person who will walk up to a stranger and ask them if they know that God loves them and if she can pray for them. This can make her grocery shopping take hours. In fact, when the family is preparing to make a trip to Target, her pastor husband will ask her to just not do “IT” this time and focus on their family. To which their daughters respond, “ Daddy we have to tell people Jesus loves them. That’s just what we do!” So they climb in the car and prepare for a two hour Target trip to buy some toothpaste.
Why is she so passionate about people knowing how much they are loved by God? Because she knows it is only through the true, deep receiving of His love that restoration, transformation, and healing can take place. Richard Rohr says,
“Most of us were taught that God would love us if and when we change. In fact, God loves you so that you can change. What empowers change, what makes you desirous of change, is the experience of love. It is that inherent experience of love that becomes the engine of change.”
In the 23rd Psalm David reminds us that the Lord is the one who restores us through his love and then leads us on a journey when we get to know Him, love Him and glorify Him.
There is a rabbinic phrase “Tikkun Olam” which in the modern world is a reference to social justice. Meaning that those of faith are responsible for healing the world. However, traditionally it meant “restore all the broken pieces.” Rav Kook once wrote on the topic of Tikkun Olam, “Love needs to fill up the heart — for ALL.” In the New Testament, Jesus says we are the light of the world. I believe when we allow God to love those dark broken parts of us, we are restored and God’s love simply overflows out of us and we see Tikkun Olam in our own hearts and the world around us.
So, how would you answer the question, “Do you believe I really love you?” What impact is the answer to this question having on your life?