This past Sunday I was teaching a group of high school students. Great group, lot of energy.
In introducing the topic, I told them the following, “I have two lessons prepared. You can pick which one I use. The first one is a good basic lesson, you’re alright, I’m alright, Jesus loves me this I know kind of lesson that doesn’t really matter. Or, you can pick the lesson that has me pushing you really hard today to strive for excellence and it does really matter. You pick.” They picked the lesson that “mattered” as I knew they would, which is fortunate, because I only really had one lesson prepared and that was it, which I admitted to the class.
However, as I was giving them a choice in subjects my mind went back several years to an interview that did matter.
Back in the 1990’s my family attended and was active in a church in our local community. The church elders and minister had asked me to consider a volunteer leadership position within the church. During the interview process there were a lot of questions regarding theology and Biblical interpretation which I enjoyed. What I did not enjoy was the fact that years before this my wife were and I were very active in a metropolitan “mega-church” that had found itself in the media on several occasions due to the inappropriate actions of the ministers and questionable teachings and it had become quite known nationally and that was where the bulk of the questions and interest were by this group of men.
Those interviewing me for the volunteer position began asking me questions regarding my former church, to the point where it was more curiosity than it was “vetting”. After several of these questions I politely said, “Gentleman, I appreciate all of your questions. Let me see if I can sum this up for you with some diplomacy.”
“When my wife and I were involved in that church, we were part of a great church, who unbeknownst to us had some issues behind the scenes. As this became known, we became concerned and left the church. After we left, we searched our hearts to see what we truly believed. I began to doubt everything regarding my faith. Fortunately, because we had both been raised in christian homes, it came down to this one thought after everything about our faith was stripped away, we were left with the simple childlike truth of, Jesus loves me this I know.”
I have throughout my life since that experience reminded myself of this simple truth. When life gets messy and seems a little upside down, it is in this simple truth that I run to…
…Jesus loves me this I know.
That is all I really need.