Sunday, April 5, 2015

Jesus Loves Me! This I Know!

Does Jesus Love Me?  Yes This I Know!

Jesus loves me! This I know,
For the Bible tells me so;
Little ones to Him belong;
They are weak, but He is strong.

Such simple words but oh so hard to understand sometimes.  As a child we are taught this.  We believe this!  Is it true?  Why doesn’t He show it right this second?  What did I do wrong?  As a child we don’t have these questions. Life muddies the water and we begin to question.  Does Jesus love me?  Does He love you?  Such an easy answer but sometimes so difficult to believe.  In my experience, the answer can only come from Him and Him alone.  So talk to Him.

But when talking I've learned that I have to LISTEN.

I love my life.  I am so very fortunate to have the most loving family in the world!  I am so fortunate to have incredible loving friends.  I love my job!  I love what God has given me. Did I always feel this way? No.  

When we are born, we have no core beliefs.  We act.  We cry, we grin and we poop.  Our actions in turn get reactions from other people.  As we grow older, we still act.  Our actions of course get reactions in the form of praise or punishment.  These praises or punishments change our behaviors over time.  These behaviors over time become our loosely-held beliefs.  From those, we establish our core beliefs.

Our behaviors change by other influences in our lives.  It could be classmates, parents, siblings, friends or situations that we encounter.  Sometimes these are good and sometimes bad.  But, in the end, these behaviors become our loosely-held beliefs.  Over time, these beliefs become our core beliefs!  Core beliefs!  The beliefs that control our lives as adults.  The beliefs that make us do great things for others.  Beliefs that make us do bad things to ourselves.  Beliefs that build us up.  Beliefs that tear us down.  Beliefs that make sense.  Beliefs that don’t.

Fortunately for me, I was taught that Jesus loves me.  It’s a simple song that has so much power if we just believe it. I believe it, and it’s the one core belief that I still carry to this day.

Why the strife Marty?  What’s the deal?  

Here’s my personal story that I want to share.  Gay was not accepted when I was growing up.  Jesus hated faggots.  Being gay was wrong.  That’s what society told me, and my behaviors and actions followed suit.  I had to fit in to these worldly things.  I had to be accepted.  I couldn’t defy society and church culture to be myself, so I conformed. And as a result, I was conflicted.

But Jesus loves me, and the world is telling me that who I am is so absolutely wrong.  You talk about conflict;that’s conflict.  It’s the worst (but also the best) conflict.  When you have conflict with others, you can just dismiss them out of your life if you choose.  When you have conflict with God, you may want him to but He doesn’t leave.  He is always there.  

So you act out.  You try to bargain.  In my case, it’s the pleading. “Please turn me straight.”  “What did I do wrong that I have to be gay?”  “I will do anything in this world, but please please please don’t let me be gay.”

So I start reading the Bible; it soothes my soul.  I knew the Bible was meant for me to read at that time because it gave me comfort.  I spoke with God frequently.  I began to look deeper into the Bible and see conflicts.  I heard the Bible was life, so it intrigued me.  How can the word of God have conflicts?  Is it because we as humans always encounter conflicts in our lives.  So I was taught to read the Bible and believe in it.  How can I when there are blatant conflicts within it?  Was it intentional?  Was it because it was written by other flawed humans just like me?  But two things keep echoing over and over in the Bible.  Jesus loves you… and pray.  Talk to Jesus...the same God that spoke to the great authors of the Bible.  

Sometimes in our lives the conflict is too much, so we just walk away. In the lives of others, this might look like divorce, beating kids, suicide, but in mine it was luckily just exclusion.  Just being with myself so I thought.  But someone who would just not leave me alone was God. He wouldn’t just leave me alone.  I just so wanted to focus on my career, my certifications, my kids that I taught.  I just wanted it to be about what I did for me, but he wouldn’t leave me alone.  Leave me alone!

Okay...He won!  He didn’t leave me alone.  All He wanted to do is talk to me.  Of course, just like most humans, I was like shut up..I’m good...Leave me alone.  He kept pressing.  Over and over again, he kept pressing.  So I started to talk to Him.  And I kept telling him over and over again what needed to happen.  Deaf ears(so I thought).  

And then your world comes crashing down on you.  You treat people great. You do all you can do in your life to make yourself a better person. You smile and then you end up shattered. SHATTERED!  No one loves me.  I am a horrible person.

But He will not leave you alone.  So I finally gave in.  Instead of demanding, I truly started talking to God. Instead of demanding, I started asking.  And I started listening. Listening to the same guy that inspired the authors of the Bible.  It’s amazing what we can hear from God if we truly talk and listen to him.  If we quit demanding. If we quit demanding and start asking questions.  If we actually listen. Oh the things God will say to us.

This is what he told me:  “Marty, I love you.”  “I made you.” “You are a wonderful person.” “I love you.”


So how does one deal with that?  It’s a love that no human has ever given me.  My mama and daddy love me and would do anything in this world for me.  My mama and daddy have shown me unconditional love all my life.  Even when I hated myself, they freaking loved me.  They love me immensely, and I love them also.  But there is nothing better than listening to God say “Marty I love You.”  

“Marty I love you” comes with other conflicts.  In a conversation, I was challenging the love issue.  Do I love God?  Do I love me?  Does anyone in this freaking world love me?  Who do I love?  What is love?

Walking around Salem Lake not caring if I lived or died I walked from the shadows into the sunlight, and God clearly said to me “Marty, Love me.  Then love yourself and I will take care of the rest.”  And that He did.

For the very first time in life, I felt truly loved and knew beyond a doubt that I would never be alone again.  I knew that if worldly people rejected me because of being gay that the One that made me would always be there.  I knew there was one that would love me for living the life He designed for me.  I am so lucky that believing in Jesus was and still is my strongest core belief.  I am also fortunate that he helped me change another core belief.  The belief that that gay is wrong.

If you know me personally, you know that I am an upbeat and positive person.  I prefer laughter and fun in my life.  With the ability to express who I am inside and out, I am now able to live the life that God intended.

It’s so simple as a kid. Then circumstances hit us in life, and the water is muddied. People complicate a simple message with their interpretations, but the only true answers come from the big man himself.  Talk to Him, and LISTEN to his response.  And never let anyone muddy the fact that Jesus Loves You!