Tuesday, June 5

life and death mission

If you think that Jesus walked the earth to sing worship songs, attend a few churches, and take some pics of his father's great scenery, you'd be sorely mistaken. If you think Jesus came to teach us a few things about living a good life, spreading some messages, and promoting His father, you'd be a little closer. But you won't really get to the heart of the matter unless you realize that Jesus walked this earth to cause a ruckus. You'll miss the whole point if you don't envision Jesus as a warrior, strapped with courage and fight, ready to bust a cap wherever he needed to. (Excuse the cheesy slang, but I'm really needing you get the image...)

I get most of the idea from John Eldridge's new book, Beautiful Outlaw, but if you really think about it for a little bit, it all makes sense. The day baby Jesus was born, there was a spiritual warfare like no other raging across the fields and the plains and the skies. The enemy knew who this baby was and what he was doing here, and he was pretty furious. Think of all the road blocks that Mary faced while trying to give birth. Think of all the trials and triumphs Jesus and his family faced while growing up. Then watch him confront those righteous Pharisees head on, showing them how silly their man-interpreted words were. He faced demons and evil spirits, crippled people, angry people, self-righteous know-it-alls, and a brutal death. Jesus was no stranger to conflict.

The point is, conflict can be completely healthy. We are asked commanded to stand firm against lies, hate, anger, and death. We have been given authority and power to battle against the wars that rage our hearts. We are given strength to stand against those things that work so hard against Christianity. Conflict is O.K. and necessary in so many places.

And before you go and get all Chuck Norris on the things that frustrate you in life, remember there is another side to this entire topic; the other side that frustrates me more than just lying down and taking it.

Apologies.

For some strange reason, even the mention of this word makes people cringe. Sure, you can defend God's existence, His might, His power, and His love, but can you accept when you've offended someone, even if you were just trying to show what you thought was God's love?

Some people have such an innate ability to argue, that defending and battling against evil is second nature. Others have such soft and warm hearts that even fighting for what's right is too daunting. Some people have an easy time saying I'm sorry because of the shame or guilt they walk around with, and others are so fearful that they think saying "I'm sorry" is saying "I'm weak".

There's got to be a balance between all of these characteristics of who we are, who we were made to be. If you can drive your point to someone until the cows come home, are you willing to apologize when your point hurts someone else?

Late into the night, early in the morning, walking down the road, in the middle of his supper, at home, abroad, Jesus offers. His time, his words, his touch, flowing like the wine at Cana. To appreciate the reality of it all, remember, this is not Superman. Remember his loneliness, his weariness, his humanity. This is utterly remarkable—particularly in light of the fact that this is a man on a life-or-death mission. He is lavish with himself.

And that’s the key, right there—that giving of himself. That is what is so precious. Moses offered leadership, and tirelessly. Solomon handed out the rarest of wisdom free of charge. Pilot seemed willing to toss to the crowds anyone they wanted. But Jesus gives himself. This is, after all, what he came to give, and what we most desperately need.

(Beautiful Outlaw, 79)

So, yeah, Jesus came as a warrior, full of divine power and strength, but full of loneliness, weariness, hurt... If we're going to example Jesus in every way, we'd better be able to exemplify all aspects of who he was and who he calls us to be. Stand up and fight for what is right, but apologize to a friend, family member, loved one, or stranger, when maybe you've put an arrow through their wounded parts. Whether you were being intentionally angry, fearful, boastful, proud, or kind, saying I'm sorry is simply saying "I see I've done something to hurt you, and I don't want to be that person to you, I want to walk with you instead." Sure, Jesus had nothing to apologize for, ever, but he had compassion for people, and he understood the harm that comes against us.

You don't have to hate someone to fight against them, and you don't have to love someone to apologize to them, you just have to understand that humanity comes with thousands of emotions, mindsets, triumphs, and joys, and in recognizing that we are all the same and that we are all trying figure that out, should open your heart to being vulnerable and understanding, in all circumstances.


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