It is a phrase slapped across bumper stickers and painted onto cement walls and written onto signs held up in the stands.
It sounds so stale. Christians have worn out this phrase, so that the world rolls their eyes at the sight of its letters.
I get embarrassed sometimes when I see it. I don’t want people to think of me as “that kind of Christian.” The kind that breaks a complicated faith down to pithy sentiments. The kind that covers up pain with prayers and promises that God works all things. The kind that speaks before it listens, or worse, yells before anyone is even interested.
And so, I run away.
I bolt from that phrase as if it is the kryptonite that will freeze my powers of ever having friends again. I am afraid of being bold. I am fearful that the words will come out wrong and I will sound like a weirdo. I am scared of making false promises.
But mostly, I am terrified of rejection.
And so I talk about how God is with me, or what my church is doing to help the poor, or how Jesus has helped me become a better person. All these topics are safe. They don’t make me sound like the psycho Christian lady. They are subjects that people both inside and outside the church can respect.
I am like Nicodemus, who goes to talks to Jesus about His identity under the cover of night. Fearful of what being seen might do to his reputation.
How fitting that it is during this hidden conversation that Jesus says these most famous words in all of the Bible,
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. – John 3:16-17
I admit to you, right here and right now, that I believe this to be true. Not because I’ve seen it on a t-shirt, but because I have felt it in the depths of my soul.
I want to talk with you over coffee about why I believe this. I want to be bold and tell you that Jesus saves. I want to talk about what my heart used to be like and how it changed after I decided this faith was true. I want to tell you how my life isn’t perfect and how my faith journey hasn’t always been easy, but how that doesn’t make the statement “Jesus saves” any less true or meaningful.
For me of for you.
I believe that each of us needs saving. We need to be saved from our regrets and our motives and our hurts and our angers and our mistakes and our false identities. And I believe that Jesus does that.
I believe each of us are wanderers in this world that God so desperately loves. And God has pursued us with His love in the form of His Son. Not to condemn us for going our own way, but to gather us into His arms and bring us home as His children.
I want to be less afraid and tell you that. I want to say it to you more often.
I think it’s the most important thing I can say.