Years ago, a well-known Christian songwriter, Dave Bryant, published an album entitled ‘God Likes Me!’. He’d clearly got a handle on this!
But why declare it? Surely God loves everybody, doesn’t He? ‘For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that whoever believes on Him may have eternal life’ – John 3:16
That may be, but it has been my experience in some churches (not my home Church here in Devon) that they believe that god spends most of his time feeling really radgy about people in general, and that he just simply doesn’t like people very much at all. They’re just too bad, too lowly, too rotten, too beneath him for god to love. And so it goes on.
God is angry, they say. God wants to punish the wicked, strike down the heathen, and as for GAYS, well!!… I wouldn’t have wanted to be gay after I found out what’s in store for them lot!! God simply does not like people, they say. It’s only, and I mean only, because of what Jesus did, that makes him reluctantly love us, never mind actually to like us!
Well I call BS on that. This isn’t the God I know. I feel He’s been unfairly represented as an ‘angry god’ by a church who have been over-heavy on the Wrath stuff and over-easy on the Mercy. The Bible is constantly in tension between Law and Mercy…. but remember the Scripture above – God so loved the world that He sent His Son. He did it in that order because He loved us first! We didn’t have to be good or deserving for God to send Jesus…He did it anyway.
And He likes you. Let’s put that more personally: He likes you. You, the person reading this, and He likes you right now, right where you are, exactly as you are. You don’t need to change for Him to love you – God’s love is not conditional on that; in fact, it’s not conditional on anything. It starts with Him, because He likes you enough to care. It starts with Him; sure, your response is key to just what He can do with you – God respects free will and always gives us the choice – but He’s made the first step.
So if you have addictions you want to be free of, He’s your answer. If you have aspects of your character you don’t like – maybe bad temper, maybe you’re a gossip – He’s your answer. If you don’t feel like there’s much needs changed right now, that’s fine too. He will transform you in His own way and in His own time into the person He wants you to be, and the person you want to be too. It doesn’t mean that He does not accept you just as you are, when I say He wants to change you. He’s actually happy with you just as you are; He likes you as you are. But He’s wanting your permission to make you even better.
The difference, when He has your permission, is that you get to walk with Him. You get to walk with God in your everyday life. How cool is that? You get to experience His Kingdom right here on earth – that’s what the ‘Lord’s Prayer’ verse means when it says ‘Your Kingdom come….on earth as it is in Heaven’. Jesus came to proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom of God, and He showed what that meant by that by healing the sick and generally being good to people. He came to change people’s view of God as portrayed by ‘Religion’ – a nasty, mean god that needs to be appeased because he’s angry all the time. He came to show what God is like by His own example, serving people, healing people, liking people, and ultimately showing just how much He liked us by dying for us too. That’s the real picture of God, made apparent and exemplified by Jesus.
Because He likes you. He really does like you.
For more on the Church misrepresenting God, take a look at this link.