rebelling against low expectations

What We Get Wrong With “Jesus Loves Me”


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

Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
The Bible tells me so.

I grew up singing these words. I bet you have too.

As kids raised in the church, this is what we sang in Sunday school. This is the song we fell asleep to. As children, this concept that Jesus loves you is pushed into our minds.

It’s true, beautiful, and worthy of our focus, but we’ve gotten it all wrong!

Do you know what my problem is with “Jesus Loves Me”? It’s all about ME!

Every time we see the word Jesus in this song, it’s followed by the word me.

Does Jesus love us? Of course! Should we praise Him for it? YES!

I’m not trying to denounce Christ’s love for us, but I think we have manipulated the concept in a negative way.

Instead of Christ’s love for us being a beautiful act of mercy and grace, we’ve taken this stunning truth and twisted it to be a self-esteem boost band-aid we stick on whenever the world hurts our feelings.

Someone teases me. Well, at least Jesus loves me. He broke up with me. That’s okay, #JESUSISMYBF. The day isn’t going my way. Do you know what, Jesus is working it all out for me.

Do you see the selfishness? If we’re honest with ourselves, we know we think this way.

The most wonderful love in the word has been reduced to a backup love that we fall on whenever we fail to find love from the idols we worship.

The saddest part is that this struggle is rampant with those who were adopted form darkness to light because of the very love they have soiled.

Christ’s love was not given to be used as a healer for the world’s attacks. It was meant to make the attacks ineffective.

It was designed to spark a love in us for God that would be so powerful we would be so focused on loving God we wouldn’t care what the world did to us.

John was so in love with God that he said, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30 [KJV]).

Stephen loved God so much that when an avalanche of rocks hurled towards him he “looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God” (Acts 7:55).

These men weren’t focused on “Jesus loves me.” They were focused on I love Jesus, and because of that, it didn’t matter what the world did to them. They were insignificant. What mattered was exalting Jesus.

When Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane, He did not pray, “Yes, God loves me! Yes, God loves me! Yes, God loves me! He tells me so.”

Christ prayed, “Not my will, but thine, be done” (Luke 22:42). Even Jesus’ life, in His view, was insignificant compared to the will of the Father.

Jesus was so in love with God that whatever He said went. Jesus didn’t pull the, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17) card every time the Pharisees judged Him.

No, because it wasn’t about Him. Jesus defended the one who sent Him.

This may seem crazy, but what if we taught kids to be like Jesus in Sunday school?

What if we deflated their big heads and instead of telling them how special they are with God’s love, we taught them how undeservingly blessed they are?

Instead of just focusing on the amazing truth that God loves them no matter what, what if we emphasized how we need to get rid of the sin in us, which God hates?

What if we amended the words of President JFK to say, “Ask not what your God can do for you – ask what you can do for your God”?

Yet, realize that God needs us for nothing, but still gives us worthless sinners the gracious chance to serve the most powerful being in the universe.

What if we taught kids while singing “Jesus Loves Me” to be overwhelmed by a God that shows such undeserving grace and mercy instead of thinking how great God loving them looks on their resume?

Let’s rethink “Jesus Loves Me.”

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Photo courtesy of Lauren Rushing and Flickr Creative Commons.


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About the author

Keith Seary

lives in New Jersey with his parents, three younger brothers, and two little sisters. He is 18-years-old, homeschooled, and eats a gluten free diet. Filmmaking and teaching the Word of God are his passions, and he hopes to use these passions to strengthen and grow the church.

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By Keith Seary
rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectations—a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More →