When you hear the phrase “Jesus Loves You” it will bring to mind many different things to different people. To some it might bring a song, to others it is a signal that they need to leave.
One of the things I really appreciate about living here in Nairobi is that the constant conflict we find with culture is a reminder. It is a reminder not only of why we are here, but of Whom we serve. It helps me remember that my view of everything is limited, especially of God. It brings me to a deeper understanding of who He is, and what He wants.
I was talking to a Kenyan from Nairobi today about ministering cross-culturally. He recounted some work he did down in Masai land. He said when you tell them, “Jesus loves you, He wants you to know Him.” They would respond, “Well why did you not bring him with you?”
A couple of years ago I was trying to explain to a Sunday school class in Nairobi about how God disciplines us for our own good. So I told them of how, as a child, I would play in my parents front yard. Often the slope of their yard would cause our ball to roll out into the street. As a young child the impulse is to run out to get the ball. My parents taught me that was not good. They disciplined me to teach me that. How does a loving parent do things which seem painful? It is out of their desire to protect us that they inflict pain, a most effective teacher. When I asked the children why it would be bad to run out in the street after a ball, one girl raised her hand rather vigorously. I called on her, and she said, “Because the street boys might get you.” She was right, from her perspective.
Living, learning, loving, they are all affected by our perspective. If we want to do more of those things, we have to be challenged, we have to learn to see things differently. Often that can be painful, but it is better than being hit by a truck, or letting the street boys get you, and God knows that.