I have been hearing this phrase a lot lately. "Jesus loves you". I wonder what we are trying to convey when we tell people this. I guess there could be different answers. The most logical one would be that, in order to communicate the Gospel completely, we would have to somehow let the other person know that they are going to hell. That is a hard thing to tell someone. I do understand that. So we cushion it with "Jesus loves you".
I see this phrase on balloons, pencils, bumper stickers, etc. What does it communicate though, to an unsaved person? Could it be sending the wrong message if we don't finish telling the whole truth? After all, if Jesus really does loves us, doesn't that mean everything is ok between Him and us? That is what I am afraid we are communicating to people. If we just leave our message at "Jesus loves you" then why would there be any need for the other person to respond to God? If Jesus really loves us, He won't send us to hell. That is the great misconception.
You see, the person who doesn't know the Lord yet, doesn't have the mind of Christ. He doesn't understand spiritual concepts yet. He doesn't understand how God can love a person, yet send that person to hell. That doesn't make sense to him.
I believe we need to be careful about how we communicate God's love to people. If we tell people that God loves them, it relaxes their consciences when God would be dealing with them. It also leads to the concept of Universalism, which is the belief that everyone goes to heaven when they die. Or at least people who believe that Jesus is the one who died for our sins. It is not a matter of believing the right facts that gets a person into heaven. The devil knows the right facts and he won't be in heaven. People can know that God exists and that Jesus died for our sins, and still go to hell, if they have not applied that truth to their hearts.
Perhaps a better way to communicate the fact that "Jesus loves you" would be to teach what the Bible says about God's love. It says that "God is love". That is a characteristic of God. He is love. But He is also judge and will judge people for their sin. We need to communicate both truths to people.
Finally, I think we need to deal with one other reason why we tell people "Jesus loves you". I personally believe we are afraid of people. If we tell them the other side of the coin, they might reject us. I understand how hard it is to speak the truth to someone, and how hard it is when the truth is hard to digest. But the opposite side of the coin is that if we don't communicate both the love and judgment of God, we are essentially lying to people about God. We are not representing Him properly. We are not telling people the whole truth and what they need to know. Can you imagine this; a person who dies and stands before God. The person died in their sins. The person is devastated when he hears the words "Depart from me into everlasting fire". All the person can say is that all his life, he always heard that Jesus loves him. Would that be fair? Can you imagine how puzzled that person would be?
So the next time you give out that balloon with "Jesus loves you" or that pencil with that saying on it, please make sure the person hears the whole message of the Gospel. God does love that person and doesn't want them in hell. Let's be motivated to share the Gospel in truth, with the love of Christ constraining us.