About five years ago, I was enjoying worship with my brothers and sisters in Christ, when something happened that forever changed how I viewed my treatment of Christ. There she stood on our chapel stage in her classic scarf and boot combo and said a phrase that sent chills up and down my dogmatic spine, “During this next worship song, just think of Jesus as your boyfriend”.
As my boyfriend.
Son of God.
Savior of the World.
Well, I was gone. I have no idea what the song was-I wasn’t singing it-my mind was racing with all the poor theological implications and ridiculous ramifications of treating the Bread of Life as your boyfriend, the Deliverer as your dinner date, and the Second Adam as a simple suitor!
A dear, dear friend from back home was visiting me in Lancaster that weekend (woot woot! Shout out to Amber!) and I, knowing and trusting her doctrinally solid mind-sinfully, and pridefully told her the fateful tale of scarf girl and her foolish “think of Jesus as your boyfriend” proposal. But instead of joining me in my frustration and woes, she rebuked me! What? Rebuked! Yes. She flat out told me to get off my high theological horse and take the suggestion for what it was-a different way to look at how you treat Jesus Christ. I could tell that she could still see my apprehensivity, because that is when she suggested that I wrote a letter to Jesus as if I was his girlfriend. Despite my strong skepticism, I decided to take her up on her challenge. With journal in hand, I started out a letter to “J” ( I couldn’t bring myself to actually call him Jesus) and once I started writing I was actually surprised with what I came up with. Some of the points I wrote about included the following confessions:
- When we first started dating, I would get so excited when I heard stories about you, but now that it’s been a while…I almost get bored with the stories about you.
- I often just skim over the letter you’ve written, and don’t really value what you have to say to me. Especially when it’s not about ME.
- When you are talking to me, if I don’t understand what you are saying…instead of asking you what you mean, I just figure whatever you were saying, it wasn’t that important.
- I know sometimes I purposefully ignore your calls or text messages.
- Many times I’d rather spent time with other people than time just with you.
- I don’t allow for a lot of time when we are one on one. Usually, I throw in a quick phone call before bed, or on my way to work-but having long, meaningful conversations with you don’t happen as often as they should.
- Sometimes in groups, I’d rather pretend we weren’t dating. I mean, I don’t cheat on you per se-but I certainly don’t mention that you are in a relationship. Sometimes your name just doesn’t come up in conversation.
- Sometimes when you are talking to me, I am super distracted-and constantly checking my phone, as if I’d be somewhere else.
- I care more about what other people think about me so often that what you think. Especially in my appearance. I want others to think I’m physically attractive, but don’t believe you when you tell me that I am beautifully and wonderfully made. I roll my eyes at you.
- I ask for other people’s opinions before yours.
- I am constantly making plans without telling you, or asking you if you want to be included.
I apologized over and over again, while admitting though I want to do better-I’ll never be able to give him what he truly deserves. I ended the letter by explaining to him, that I totally understand if he were to break up with me. I deserve it. I am the WORST girlfriend EVER.
But here’s the thing- I know he won’t. He won’t give up on me. He won’t leave me.
And what the letter writing brought me to see in new light is this: we would NEVER want to treat our significant other like that. Boyfriend/girlfriend/best friend/spouse-it would be ABSURD for our relationship to look like what I described above. So why is it so acceptable for me to treat Christ like that? When I understand how lowly I am, and understand how good he is to me despite that lowliness, when I see how beautiful his love for me is-his commitment and his gracious patience-it should propel me to change! I want to be better to him-because my oh my does he more than deserve it! How lucky I am! I don’t deserve him! I want to spend more time with him so I can be more like him because he is nothing short of amazing.
So though at first, I didn’t see the value in thinking about Christ in this way-and I do believe it can be dangerous if taken any further, I was really blessed by processing in this manner. It is absolutely MIND BLOWING that despite all my foolishness and insensitivity to him-he still is committed to me. That even though I am faithless, He remains faithful. Even though I treat him so poorly, he still is going to pursue me, and choose to call me his girl. Seeing that truth should change the way I treat him.
So, do I regularly think of Jesus of my boyfriend? Nah. But I do see value in using earthly relationship terms to see how Jesus treats me, and how I treat him. I hope this convicts and encourages you to love him better-because he is awesome. An awesome boyfriend…eh…I’m still a little uncomfortable with that. But an awesome Savior? Oh yes.