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He Loved Them | Jessica Thompson

Building Relationships / Dr. Gary Chapman
The Truth Network Radio
March 18, 2023 1:00 am

He Loved Them | Jessica Thompson

Building Relationships / Dr. Gary Chapman

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March 18, 2023 1:00 am

If you’re discouraged, if you’re weary, if you’re living under a load of regret and guilt, don’t miss this Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman. Author and speaker, Jessica Thompson, has taken a look at the life of Jesus to see how he interacted with the downcast, the dejected—she says even the dead lived in the wake of his love. Hear encouragement for your soul on the next Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman.

Featured resource: He Loved Them: Discovering Jesus' Heart for Seekers, Sinners, Doubters, and the Discouraged (and Other People Like Us)

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Moody Radio Springshare Event is happening now, and we need your help. Will you partner with us this year as we look to be bold for the Gospel in 2023? Last year we were able to reach deep parts of Africa, and this year we want to continue to expand our reach around the world.

Whether you listen on air or online, Moody Radio needs your help. To learn more, see our impact or support this work, visit springshare.org Can you imagine how beautiful the world would be if we all emulated more of who Christ was? But we can't do that without remembering that for all of our times that we fail, we're forgiven, we're loved, and we're counted as righteous because of the work of Christ. And of course, the people Jesus loved. She says the downcast and dejected, even the dead, found themselves in the wake of the love of Christ. Oh, this is going to be such an encouraging conversation. And if you go to the website buildingrelationships.us, you'll see our featured resource creatively titled He Loved Them, Discovering Jesus' Heart for Seekers, Sinners, Doubters, and the Discouraged and Other People Like Us.

Find it at buildingrelationships.us. Gary, that subtitle really says it all, doesn't it? Well, it does, and I think I can identify with that. I've followed in some of those categories along the way.

I think all humans do. So I'm very excited about our discussion today on that topic because, listen, he's our example, okay? So let's learn today what it was like and what he did, and let's ask him to give us the power to do the same. So let's jump into this conversation with Jessica. Let me introduce Jessica Thompson, a speaker, author. She's written several books, including Give Them Grace, Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Christ. She's part of the podcast Front Porch with the Fitzes, and she's the director of church life at Risen Church in San Diego, California. Again, our featured resource is her book He Loved Them that we're going to talk about today.

You can find out more at buildingrelationships.us. Well, Jessica, welcome to Building Relationships. Gary, guys, thanks so much for having me on. I'm excited to be with you this morning. Well, why don't you tell us a little bit about yourself and your family before we get started.

Who is Jessica Thompson? That's a great question. Like you guys said, I am working at a church. I'm on staff at a church called Risen Church. We're in San Diego. I'm the director of church life, which we often joke, I'm like the cruise director. So I don't really know what director of church life means, but I know how I function.

I've been on staff for a couple of years there and I love my work there and love the people there. I have three adult children, a 24 year old, 22 year old and 19 year old. So I am two of those are at home currently. One went away and decided that that wasn't for him. Graduated from university and came back. He got his degree in worship arts from a university near Chicago and is home working at a dog daycare center. So that makes all the sense in the world to you. So, you know, if you're ever thinking about getting your degree in worship arts, make sure that there are jobs out there.

Good suggestion. Listen, he loves his job. He's the he's the one that drives around and picks up the dogs in the dog bus. You know, people pay to have their dogs go to daycare. So that's a little bit about my family. And yeah, we're just thriving in Southern California.

And that's who I am. Do you all have a dog at your house? We have two dogs, actually, two dogs. OK. Yeah, we they're both big, both like, you know, 100 pound dogs. And, you know, the first one, it was getting old.

And so then my my youngest was like, we really need another dog to like reinvigorate life into our older dog. And, you know, the kid talked me into it. I regret it. I'm not going to lie. Well, we are where we are.

OK. And the end of the conversation is, and here we are and here we shall be. I like the title of your book, you know, this whole thing about how Jesus loved the people that he encountered and he encountered all kinds of people. Have you ever struggled yourself, you know, with loving people that are different from you?

Yeah, I mean, don't we all? Listen, I struggle with loving people that are the same as me, if I'm being honest. I think all of us struggle with loving others.

Right. And it's one of the two great commands, love God and love others. And I always say I would be a great Christian if it wasn't for other people.

That's where I get hung up. But yeah, I have had struggles with learning how to love the way I've been loved. What do you think people in the church or in society in general believe about the love of Jesus today? I mean, is there a sense out there that they are loved by Jesus or where do you think people are today? I think when you ask someone, do you think Jesus was loving or is loving? I think most people would say, like people in the church would say, yeah, generally speaking, I think Jesus is loving. I think that the hard part for us is believing that he loved us, that he loves me specifically.

That's the hard part. Now, I think obviously you're going to get a different answer inside the church and outside the church. I think a lot of times the way that Jesus is portrayed outside the church or the way that people perceive Jesus outside the church is that maybe he wasn't loving. Maybe he was full of judgment.

Maybe he was a hard task master. Maybe he asked too much of people and didn't love them enough. I think sometimes you get that sense outside of the church, right? Or people just think, oh, you know, he was a nice guy, but I don't know about loving. But I think for all of us, inside the church, outside the church, to connect Christ's love to us personally can sometimes be a difficult thing to do.

Yeah. Do you think that adults who grew up in homes where they didn't feel loved by their parents, do they have more trouble believing that Jesus loves them? I think in some senses, yes, I do. But I got to tell you, I grew up in a beautiful, loving home. Both of my parents loved God and both of my parents loved me, and I still have trouble with it. I think it's innately built into us that we want to, not we want to, but we just do doubt the love of God. Adam and Eve did it. I mean, so from the very beginning, they doubted that God loved them in a way that gave them everything they needed. And so I think for us as well, yeah, I do think that our story of origin and how we grew up, it can definitely make that more difficult, for sure. But I also think that innately built in all of us is the suspicion that God really just doesn't love us, or just really doesn't love me.

If he really sees me, then I just can't imagine a holy God loving me. Yeah. And we have to also realize, same with Adam and Eve, we have an enemy that says, you don't really believe that stuff about Jesus, do you?

Right. So, yeah, I think there are people today particularly who did not grow up in church, if you say to them, do you believe that Jesus loves you, there are many who are going to say, Jesus, I don't know Jesus. And they don't. They've never been exposed, you know. And one of the things I've asked is, well, have you ever read the accounts of Jesus' life?

And most of them have not, of course. And that's one of the things I like about your book, because you deal with the four books in the New Testament that give the accounts of Jesus. We call them the Gospels, you know, as Christians we understand that. But are there differences in the way that each of these writers, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, portray the love of Christ?

Absolutely there are. I mean, there is a lot of overlaps in these stories. A lot of the Gospels pick up the same story. There are certain Gospels that only one of the Gospels has a story, where the other three don't have that same story. You know, you look in the Gospel of Matthew, he really emphasizes Jesus being the Messiah, the King, right? He emphasizes the strength of Jesus. The very first miracle in the book of Matthew, the Gospel of Matthew, is a leper cleansed. And then it ends with the resurrection, right? So you get this big, full picture of Jesus' power and that he's the Messiah. The Gospel of Mark presents Jesus more as like a suffering servant, right?

Someone who's humble. And the very first miracle there is a demon is expelled, and then the book ends with an ascension of Jesus to heaven. So even just in those two, you get a little bit of a different feel of what Jesus is like. The Gospel of Luke, I mean, it's different as well. Jesus, his humanity is really emphasized in the Gospel of Luke. His incarnation, his birth, all of these things, that's very much emphasized there. And that book ends with the promise of the Holy Spirit coming to us and continuing the work of Jesus. And then lastly, in the Gospel of John, we see a lot of Jesus' divinity being God. That is emphasized, being a co-equal with God. And so we see in each of these Gospels the way that Jesus is portrayed in a different way, and then how that works out and how he loves us. It's actually incredibly beautiful, and I would recommend to any Christian that's out there, man, spend some time just reading through the Gospels and soaking in who Christ was and who he is.

It was a beautiful journey for me to go on. This is Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, New York Times best-selling author of "The 5 Love Languages" . You'll find more simple ways to strengthen relationships at our website, buildingrelationships.us. Our guest today is author and speaker Jessica Thompson. Our featured resource is her book, He Loved Them, Discovering Jesus' Heart for Seekers, Sinners, Doubters, and the Discouraged and Other People Like Us.

Find out more at buildingrelationships.us. As you went through the Scriptures, did you discover anything that surprised you about the life of Christ? Yeah, actually, there was so much that surprised me. And you would think by the end of this journey I would have gotten it.

But I'm literally writing a book on it. But the way that he loved people, the different ways he loved people, the ways that, I mean, and you know, obviously you've written about this, the ways that in some people what he did for them was touch them. In some people what he did for them was gave them a good word. For some people what he did for them is give them bread and food and what they actually need, right? You see Jesus going through and loving people the way that they needed to be loved, the way they desired to be loved. And the title of this book actually comes from the end of Jesus' life. We're looking in the book of John, the Gospel of John, and there's a sentence in there that says, And having loved his own, he loved them until the end. And so we look at the life of Jesus, his entire life, from incarnation, from God becoming man, from the very beginning, his entire life drawn out over this beautiful picture, tapestry, all these stories woven together, this beautiful picture. And it's just one of overwhelming love and not just like a specific type of love.

Sometimes we think, oh, Jesus came and said, you're a sinner, stop. And that's loving. And that is loving, right? It is loving to call people out of their sin. But he did it in so many diverse, different ways. The way he loves us, the way he loved in the gospel is just beautiful to behold.

So that was surprising to me. And even though I'm writing a book on it, and it was me going into this, knowing my thesis, knowing what I'm going to write about, but still over and over and over again, the Holy Spirit warmed my heart to the beauty of the love of God for us in Christ. Listening to you reminds me, Jessica, of the book that I wrote called God Speaks Your Love Language, because he does. And you see them in the life of Jesus, all five languages. And people tend to be drawn to Christ because they sense his love in their love language.

That's the message of that book. But yeah, it's fascinating to see how Jesus expressed his love to other people. Now, we know that Jesus was fully God. And at the same time, he was fully human. He was fully man. Why do you believe it's important to focus on the humanity of Christ in looking at his love for others?

I think there's a few different reasons. First, I think it's important to believe that Jesus understands what it's like to try and love sinful, hurtful humans. He had emotions, and in going through these Gospels, reading about the different ways Jesus felt was so interesting to me. Like, we can believe, okay, he was fully God, and because he was God, it made it easy to love people.

Okay, yes, but also in that his heart was broken, in that he felt joy with his friends, in that he felt all the emotions that we feel in our relationships. The Bible talks about in Hebrews that Jesus Christ is a high priest who sympathizes with us in our weaknesses because he's gone through every temptation as we have, and yet he was without sin. So Jesus knew what it was like to be in a relationship. And not only is that encouraging to me so that when I'm in the middle of a relationship and I've been betrayed, I can say to myself, Jesus knows what it's like to love and be betrayed.

I mean, he gets that on a very real human level. Not only do I know that he knows that, and that's the beautiful part about him being fully human, he understood what that felt like, but he went through that without sinning. And because he went through that without sinning, which I don't, when someone betrays me, believe that I do not go through that without sinning. But because he did go through that without sinning, I am now forgiven for the ways that I do sin. I am now counted as righteous before a holy God because I'm hidden in the perfect life of Jesus Christ. So in my moments of weakness, in my moments of sinning against God, because I'm reacting in a certain way, or because I'm not loving the way that I should and I'm being selfish, in those moments I can know, oh man, not only is it comforting to me to know that Jesus knows what it's like to be hurt by others, but because he lived this life as a human, I'm now forgiven.

I'm now hidden in his perfect work for me. Yeah, powerful. Yeah.

Now we know that he is our model, but at the same time, you say it's important for us not to preach to ourselves as we study the life of Jesus, because it's easy to read his life and then kind of put yourself down. Right. Explain your thinking there. Yeah, so obviously, you know, a lot of times I like to think I'm equal with God. I'm kidding, I don't. Maybe I do.

I don't know. But a lot of times I think pretty highly of myself, and then I'll fall and do something horrible, and then I think, why am I not the way I should be? Why can't I love like Jesus loved?

What is my issue? And I'll end up in the depths of despair. There are times, Gary, when I do that, where I just go to the depths of the despair, and I look at all the ways I've failed, and I look at all the things I've done wrong, and I just get mired down in that. And then there are other times when I am not necessarily looking at Jesus, but I'm comparing myself to other people who I think I'm better than. And I think, well, look at me, aren't I amazing?

I didn't yell at my kid when they did that. I was kind when that person was mean to me, and then I get super proud, and I think, isn't God lucky to have me? And so anytime I'm focused in on my own reactions, on my own love in a way that forgets the love of God, in a way that doesn't go to the love of God for my identity, I'm either going to end up down in the dumps, or I'm going to end up with my head in the clouds thinking I'm all that.

Either one of those is not a good place to be. And so what I'm trying to get at when I say this, like don't preach to yourself about just being like Jesus. Yes, He's our example, and yes, we should strive to be like Him, but what I want to get to with this book is He loves you no matter what.

If you're in the depths, if you're thinking highly of yourself, God loves you in Christ because of Christ's work. So the theme isn't necessarily be more like Jesus, although that's there. We can't say be more like Jesus without always resting in. We aren't like Jesus, but I'm forgiven, and I'm loved, and I'm hidden in the perfect work of Christ. So yes, is He our example?

Yes, please. Can you imagine how beautiful the world would be if we all emulated more of who Christ was? But we can't do that without remembering that for all of our times that we fail, we're forgiven, we're loved, and we're counted as righteous because of the work of Christ.

Powerful, powerful. You know, we are not lovers by nature, right? We are self-centered, and it's only as we allow His love to flow through us, you know, that we become lovers. Now, you write, and I'm quoting this, Jesus knew who He was, and He lived fully in His identity of the Beloved. Jesus didn't try to be anything other than what He was, end of quote. What does that say to us about how we live our lives?

Yeah. I mean, this is the beautiful part of who Jesus is, one of them. Jesus only lived into His identity as the Beloved. He was the Beloved of God from eternity past to eternity future, and so are we, right? As Jesus is God in the Trinity, they share love amongst themselves so beautifully. Really, that's creation, right?

They're sharing love so beautifully and amongst themselves that this love overflows and creates. It overflows and creates us. And so Jesus lived into this identity as the Beloved Son with whom God was well pleased. We see that at His baptism, and God speaks to Him, speaks this word over Him, You are my Beloved Son in whom I am well pleased, and so for us. Jesus didn't have to try and show off His power. He didn't have to try and prove to everybody, look, I really am the Son of God. I really am God. It wasn't like that. It wasn't His ego trying to prove those things.

He just walked in who He was. And so for us as well. We are the Beloved of God. You and I are the Beloved of God as well. In John, in Christ's high priestly prayer, what He prays is this.

He prays a number of different things before He goes to the cross, but one of the things He prays is this. Father, let them know that You love them the way that You love me. So how do you think God the Father loves God the Son? Completely, fully, no lack, no disappointment. This is how we're loved as well. And so for us to walk in the identity of the Beloved, the most important thing about us today, the most important thing about you or me is not what we accomplished today.

It's not our failures today. The most important thing about you and I is when we woke up this morning, we were loved by God. And when we go to sleep tonight, we will be loved by God. And so what that does in our lives, Gary, is then that changes us into a loving people. I'm not trying to look to you to build my identity or to tell me I'm an amazing person.

I'm also not looking to my track record of failures to think I'm the worst. What I'm doing again is focusing in on who God the Father is. Who God says I am. He says I'm loved. He says I'm chosen. He says I'm adopted.

He says I'm His. And so as we live into that identity, it changes us into a group of people who loves out of that identity instead of loving to get an identity. It's two totally different places.

One is a place of freedom and one is a place of slavery. And so for us as Christians, we love out of freedom. Well, so great. Let's look at the words of Jesus on the cross. What do they reveal about His heart toward different people?

Yeah, and this is just so beautiful. If all you did was look at what Christ said on the cross, those sayings that He said on the cross, if all you did was look at that, my goodness, you would come away with the most beautiful picture of the love of Christ for us. One of the first things He says is, my God, my God, why have you forsaken me? And in that moment of God forsaking God, I mean, who can really understand that? I understand it sort of.

I understand that it happened, but how that really happened, I don't quite understand. I know it's true, though, and I know that the reason that Jesus cried out, why have you forsaken me, was so that you and I would never have to wonder if God was going to forsake us because God forsook Jesus on our behalf. We deserve that, right? That's something we earned, and it's something Jesus took.

So we never have to wonder if Jesus is going to forsake us. He also said, Father, forgive them, for they don't know what they're doing. We look at these people who are literally killing Him, making fun of Him, mocking Him, and He looks out at this group, and what is His heart? Oh, God, Father, forgive them.

They have no idea what they're doing. What He says to the thief on the cross next to Him, who says, hey, remember me. Remember me, Jesus, and Jesus says to him, today you'll be with me in paradise. So here He is, granting eternal life to this thief on the cross next to Him. Another thing He says is to John and to his mother, and He says, woman, behold thy son, and behold thy mother.

What He's doing there is He's taking care of His mom. I mean, how beautiful is it that on the cross, as He's dying, Jesus is restoring and creating new relationship between John and his mother, and saying, here, you guys, you have each other. What else Jesus says is, I thirst, again, talking about His humanity. And then one of the last things He says is, it is finished. And so for us to know all the work that needed to be done, for us to be 100% sure that God loves us, it's done. There's no more work that needs to be done.

Jesus did it all, propelled by His great love for God and His great love for us. Thanks for joining us today for Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, author of the New York Times bestseller, "The 5 Love Languages" . You can hear today's program again at our website, buildingrelationships.us. Take a quiz to discover your love language and find out about our featured resource at buildingrelationships.us.

Jessica Thompson's book, He Loved Them, is linked right there at buildingrelationships.us. In our last segment, Jessica, you were talking about the sayings of Jesus on the cross. If we only took those sayings, we'd have a pretty good picture of who He was and what He was doing for us, right?

Yes. Yeah, and I think it's interesting, like, our thoughts of Him are not, we just tend to not think of Him in those terms. And if we would just spend time there, oh, goodness, our hearts would just be inflamed with love for who He was. Now, in your view, how does Christ's love and life affect the understanding for us, our understanding of the world and of God and of others and of ourselves? Right, so the Bible talks a lot about this word shalom or wholeness. We think of the word shalom as kind of like peace.

And while that is true, that is one of the meanings of that word, that word shalom also encompasses like a wholeness of being, a wholeness of self. And so the way that Jesus lived, the way that He loved radically changes our view of what that wholeness looks like. He was the most perfect of human beings. He was exactly as a human being should be, the way He interacted with God.

And we talked about this a little bit. He knew He was loved by God. That belovedness informs everything else, so it informs how He interacted with Himself. Again, He wasn't trying to prove anything.

He was just walking out what His identity was. It changed how He interacted with others. He wasn't looking to try and gain something from others. Here is a man, here is a human who never used others for the benefit of himself for anything.

He never used someone. He only ever loved people, so it changed how he interacted with God. He walked in His identity as the beloved. It changed how he interacted in himself.

Can you imagine never being worried about what other people thought of you? I can't, and this is how Jesus lived because He was so rooted and grounded in God's love. He knew who He was, and then because He knew who He was, it changed how He interacted with others. So He loves others. He gives to others freely. And then the world, how He even interacts with nature is interesting to me. He doesn't use nature as a way to make Himself more powerful.

He doesn't dominate over nature, but instead of what He does is He uses nature to help and sustain others. And so again, this whole life of living in perfect shalom, living in perfect wholeness because of the way that God loves Him and the way that He loves others is an amazing thing to think about. Yeah, I've always appreciated, too, the reality that in the garden, as He was facing in His mind the cross that was to come, He was very honest with His Father when He said, if there's any other way, let this cup pass from Me. And, you know, He's pictured His blood becoming drops of blood. I mean, He was intently sharing with the Father His struggle as a human at what was coming. But I like the way He ended it. Nevertheless, Father, your will be done.

Right. Yeah, so He knew who He was and what was about to happen. Do you in the book look at Christ's love for particular groups of people as well as individuals? Yeah, so we're looking, and I go through the book, and I kind of tease at the beginning. This book is a choose-your-own-adventure type of book. Do you remember those books at all where you would pick up a book? When I was younger, they had these books where you'd pick up a book and you'd read like three pages, and then it was like, if you want to go jump off the cliff, read page 25, or if you would rather go swimming in a pool, read page 30. Okay, and so you kind of choose your own adventure through the whole book.

That's how I wrote this book as well. There are different types of groups that are all over, and I tell people, listen, if you see a group in the table of contents that you identify with, as far as like, ah, I'm really discouraged. How did Jesus interact with discouraged people? Go to that chapter.

Oh, I'm really, I'm doubting right now. How did Jesus interact with people who doubted? Go to that chapter. So even though I have the chapters in a sequential order, my thing is like, just go to where your heart is calling you, in a sense.

It's a choose-your-own-adventure. But yeah, so you see, there wasn't just like one example of someone who was discouraged in the Bible. There are plenty of examples of people that were discouraged, plenty of examples of people that doubted Jesus, and people that really should have known Jesus better. Those are the ones that doubted Him as well, not just like the skeptic that's on the outside, but even Mary, His mother. There's a point in the Gospels where Jesus is teaching in the synagogue, and Mary and her other sons, Jesus' mother and brother, they come and they say, password up to Jesus because we think He's out of His mind and we need to take Him home. They came to do an intervention on Jesus because they were like, He's teaching that He's the Son of God and that's not right. I mean, if anybody would have known, Gary, that Jesus was the Son of God, it would have been Mary. Right?

Right? And yet, here she is doubting. So yes, we have groups of doubters. We have the way that Jesus interacts with the outcast. We have the way that Jesus interacts with rule followers. I mean, I was surprised at how many different types of categories of people are all over the Gospel, just really so that we can see who He is, so that we can see ourselves as well, and so that we can know even in our moments that we're not proud of, even in our darkest moments, Jesus is still loving and caring for us. That's one of the things I like about the book, is the way you do that, so that almost everyone can identify one of those groups of people where they are at the moment and just go right there and see how Jesus responded to that. Yeah.

Yeah. You know, today, calling people sinners is not popular. It's not something you think in terms of doing, but Jesus clearly interacted with sinful people.

I mean, really sinful people. What's the importance of understanding this aspect of His love? We can't really appreciate the love of Christ until we also appreciate the depths of sin that so many of us walk in. What's the beauty of someone who loves someone and the person's just a little bit bad? You know what I mean? Like, they're only a little bit of a sinner, and so if you love someone who's only a little bit of a sinner but mainly a great person, that's not that big of a deal, right?

Like, most of us can do that. But to love someone who is the worst of the worst, to love someone who is your enemy, the Bible talks about how we are enemies of God, but because of His great kindness to us, He still loves us. So in order to appreciate the love of Christ, we also need to call a thing what it is.

Be honest about the sin as well, because there really isn't anything great about being a really loving person to someone who's just a little bad. I mean, what's beautiful is that while we were enemies, while we were dead in our trespasses and sins, Christ died for us. So in the middle of our worst of our worst of our worst day, the worst of the worst, in the middle of that, Jesus still loves us. And that's what you have to believe in order to have courage to get up the next day and try again. That's what you need to believe in order to get up and love your neighbor, is to remember that in the middle of your worstness, is that a word?

I don't know. But in the middle of your worstness, Jesus Christ is still loving you. But you have to believe that you need a Savior, because if all you needed was a life coach, Jesus wouldn't have to come. If all you needed was just a little advice to make you a better person, Jesus wouldn't have had to come and die the death that we deserve, live the life that we were called to live, and then do it all for us so that we're forgiven.

You have to believe that you're a sinner in order to see how beautiful the love of Christ is. Let me ask you a personal question. Were you challenged as you researched and wrote this book to model the kind of love for others? Did you go through some struggles in your own life, in your relationship with people?

Absolutely. Yes, I will be very honest, brutally honest. There are times, and especially in the last few years, we've experienced so much division. We've experienced it in our country. I've experienced it in very personal ways that I write about in the book, ways that I never thought I would experience this type of division, this type of heartache.

And generally speaking, as a country, we've experienced it. So yes, I have watched the way that Jesus loved people that were so opposite than Him, people that actually hated Him, people, again, that betrayed Him. I watched the way He loved them and thought, oh, there's just no way.

There's just no way I could do that. But at the same time thinking, oh, but Holy Spirit, you promised that the work that you started in me, you will complete, and I believe that. I believe that. And so praying that the Holy Spirit would change my heart into one that is only wanting to protect, into one that's only concerned about my own interest, change that heart into a heart that looks outside of what I'm comfortable with, looks for the outsider, looks for the marginalized, looks for the people that don't look like me, that don't think like me, that don't vote like me. Look for those people and treat them with the love of Jesus. Treat them the way that Jesus has treated me.

And my goodness, that is so hard. And so over and over what I was doing was learning to rely on the forgiveness of Christ, learning to remember that I'm loved. And the more I think about the fact that I'm loved even when I fail, the more I'm able to then say, oh, man, I failed so much.

Because I know that I failed, because I know I'm not living the way I should, that I'm not really every day walking the way that Jesus walked, then I can look at these other people and think, they're not walking the way Jesus walked either, but I get it, because I'm doing the same thing, maybe not in the same ways, but I'm also failing. And so then I can turn to them and say, oh, friend, we are both in desperate need of Jesus. We're both in desperate need of a Savior. We're both in desperate need of love.

And guess what? We have it. So, yes, it was incredibly difficult, it is difficult, but we have the Holy Spirit to work in us. That's our real hope, right, is that we have the help, outside help.

Yes, need it. Thanks for joining us today for Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, author of the New York Times bestseller, "The 5 Love Languages" . Jessica Thompson is joining us, and we're talking about her book, He Loved Them, Discovering Jesus' Heart for Seekers, Sinners, Doubters, and the Discouraged, and Other People Like Us. That's our featured resource today at buildingrelationships.us.

Again, go to buildingrelationships.us. Jessica, we don't have time, of course, to discuss all of the categories of people on our program today, but let's take doubters. We know that in today's world, there are many people who really doubt, some doubt even the existence of God. How did Jesus love those who were doubters?

Give us a few thoughts on that. Well, immediately when we say doubter, and you think of the life of Christ, I mean, the first person we think of is doubting Thomas, right? How terrible for him that he's the only one in all of scriptures that when we say his name, we automatically say what he was a failure at.

You know, we don't really say it about anybody else. We don't say doubting anybody or betraying anybody, but his name automatically goes with doubting Thomas. How did Jesus interact with Thomas? And this is amazing to me.

What I think Jesus should have done when he interacted with Thomas should have been like, come on, you've been with me this whole time, Thomas. You know how powerful I am. Why can't you just believe?

I mean, get over it, man. You've seen the miracles I've performed. Why can't you just believe? But this is not what he does.

Oh, it's amazing, right? What does Jesus do with Thomas? Well, he invites him in to touch his body. He says, Thomas, in essence, Thomas, I see your doubting heart. I want you to touch my hands.

I want you to look and see my side. Understand that this is real. He goes to Thomas and the place where Thomas needs reassurance, he gives it to him. See, I think a lot of times we think that when we doubt, Jesus is going to be like, just do better and believe better. Forget all your doubts.

No, no, no. He goes to Thomas's doubts and he says, okay, I understand your doubting. Touch me. Look at me. Feel who I am. He doesn't dismiss Thomas's doubts.

He goes right at him and he says, Thomas, here I am. Look at me. I'm real. This is real. It's not too good to be true.

I've risen. And then that's not all he does. He doesn't just do that with Thomas and look at my hands and my feet, whatever, that whole thing that we know that he does. But then he goes a step further and he sits and eats with Thomas.

Like he has communion, real relationship with him. He's not disappointed in Thomas. He doesn't scold Thomas. He goes to Thomas's doubts and he reassures them in those doubts. And so for those of you who are doubting today, he's not looking at you thinking, ah, another one of those doubters.

Why do I keep encountering them? Can't they just believe? That's not who he is. He comes to your doubts tenderly and specifically. And he says, look at me, I'm real. That's the word he speaks to you and not just look at me, I'm real, but look at me, I'm real.

And I want to be in relationship with you. And so for the doubters, oh, he's not, he's not angry at you. He's not disappointed in you. He's inviting you into communion and relationship with him. That's what he did for Thomas and that's what he does for you. And it might start with simply a reading of his life as found in the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Yes. And just with an open heart, Lord, show me the reality of Christ.

Let's just take one other. How about the discouraged person? How did Jesus respond to discouraged? There's a specific verse that talks about how Jesus looked over the people and saw that they were faint hearted and discouraged. And then the next line talks about how his heart yearned for them.

He felt compassion for them. I think sometimes when we're discouraged, we're not just discouraged with our circumstances. We're also discouraged with our response to our circumstances. So we can look out on our life and think, oh, this is so discouraging. And then especially if we're Christians, then on top of that, we think, oh, but I should have joy in my suffering and I should be able to rise above this, et cetera.

And those things do happen by the work of the Holy Spirit. But a lot of times when we're stuck in discouragement, we're not just, again, discouraged with the circumstances. We're discouraged with our reaction to the circumstances. And this verse talks about specifically how Jesus looked out on this group of people who were discouraged. This group of people were faint hearted and he had compassion for them. We often don't have that compassion for ourselves. We think, I should just get over it.

I should just do better. I should just believe more. And that's not what Jesus did. Jesus felt compassion. So if you're in the middle of discouragement, again, I talked about it a little bit earlier. Jesus is a high priest who sympathizes with you in the middle of that.

Charles Spurgeon talks about that verse right there as if you put two grand pianos in a room and you hit the note on one grand piano, that string will vibrate on the other grand piano. So it is the same when we're going through something that's discouraging. Jesus feels that with us. He sympathizes with us in our weaknesses.

And those verses go on to say, so come boldly to the throne of grace where you can receive mercy and find help in your time of need. And so for those of you who are discouraged, Jesus is calling you to himself. He is the source of our hope. He is the source of our encouragement. He feels this with you. He's not standing off looking at you asking you to get your act together. He's feeling it with you. And he's saying to you, come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. I will give you the encouragement that you need. Jessica, as we bring our program to a close, what is your overall message, the main takeaway that you would like to leave with our listeners today? I mean, if all you hear me say today is Jesus loves you, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.

That's it. You are loved by Jesus. That sweet little song that if you grew up in the church, you sang it when you were little.

That sweet little song should be a refrain of joy and hope to you throughout your day. You are loved by Jesus. A better version of you is not loved by Jesus. A past version of you is not loved by Jesus. You right now, sitting, standing, walking, whatever you're doing as you listen to this, you are loved by Jesus Christ.

Well, that's a good word for us to close on. You know, I want to thank you for being with us today. I want to thank you for the efforts you put into this book. And I want to encourage our listeners wherever you are in life, whatever you're experiencing, you'll find in this book, God can use this to help you respond to yourself and to others in the way that Jesus did. So thanks for being with us today, Jessica. Thank you so much for having me.

It's been a joy. Well, what an encouraging hour with Jessica Thompson today. If you'd like to find out more about the book, He Loved Us, go to buildingrelationships.us, subtitled Discovering Jesus Heart for Seekers, Sinners, Doubters, and the Discouraged and Other People Like Us.

Again, go to buildingrelationships.us. And next week, your questions and comments about any relationship struggle you may have. Our March edition of Dear Gary is coming up next week. Our thanks to our production team, Steve Wick and Janice Bakking. Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman is a production of Moody Radio in association with Moody Publishers, a ministry of Moody Bible Institute.

Thanks for listening. Moody Radio's spring share event is happening now, and we need your help. Will you partner with us this year as we look to be bold for the gospel in 2023? Last year, we were able to reach deep parts of Africa, and this year, we want to continue to expand our reach around the world. Whether you listen on air or online, Moody Radio needs your help. To learn more, see our impact, or support this work, visit springshare.org.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-18 02:44:41 / 2023-03-18 03:03:24 / 19

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