Life has been a bit crazy around here between moving and getting ready for school and this bug that has invaded our home so I haven’t had an opportunity to post anything recently. But last night as we were flipping through channels, we came across a documentary. Here we were, looking for some sitcom to make us go brain-dead until time for bed and we stumble upon this movie. Divine appointment? Absolutely!
So, there was this one guy in the movie who made the point that it is interesting that when non-believers in our culture hear the word “Christian”, often their first thoughts are sometimes: boring, judgmental, rules, politics, right-wing, condemnation, etc. But these aren’t the characteristics of Jesus? If we were really being Christ-like the thing we would be known for is audacious love…Self-sacrifice…Humility. Sure we could be thought of as radical or extreme or sometimes even crazy, but love would be our cause. Instead the world thinks hate?! Have we missed it that much? When reaching out to others is motivated solely by conversion it isn’t Jesus at all. Jesus meets people where we are and loves us in spite of and in the midst of our mess. If all we ever do is sit in our air-conditioned, cushy pews with our 5-song worship set and impassioned message, then walk away and live a comfortable, safe, “happy” life – where is Jesus? Sure He was present in the worship on Sunday and the pastors words were God-inspired, but to really experience Jesus, we must go. Go – into all the world. Go – make friends with unbelievers. Go – deliver a meal or pay for a coffee. Go – seek the lost, not to convert them, but to love them. Because that is what Jesus did. Luke 19:10 “For the son of man came to seek and to save what was lost.” He had dinner with thieves and prostitutes. He hung out with outcasts and thugs. Can we really call ourselves the “church” when non-christians don’t even feel comfortable in our presence much less our buildings?
In Luke 19, Zacchaeus, who was hated by the church of the day, heard that Jesus was coming and did all that he could to see him. If we are to be Jesus, why are we hated? Could it be that we look nothing like Him? Jesus didn’t tell Zacchaeus to come to church with him and check out how cool it was. He said “Come down, I’m coming to stay at your house!” And what was the first response of the people? “He is going to the house of a ‘sinner’!?” Typical. But my favorite part is the response of Zacchaeus. The next thing he did was give half of all he had to the poor and then give back four times what he cheated people out of. What!? Just by being in the presence of Jesus, he was compelled to good. Huh? And why is it so hard for today’s “church” to convince the world to accept Jesus? I think the answer is clear…we are selling a different Jesus. We are preaching this packaged, North American, clean cut, rule-following Jesus. But when we see even a glimpse of the living God, the Ancient One, the Prince of Peace, the Most High…the Real Jesus, then and only then can we be compelled to surrender, to right our wrongs, to open our homes.
When I start to view my list of mistakes as the plank that it is, and begin to view everyone else’s as sawdust then maybe I can have an opportunity to compel others to Christ. Until then, I’m stuck in a place of wondering how I can make a difference. Everyday in some way or in some place, I come in contact with people who don’t know Jesus and if the Jesus I am “selling” or claim to have in my heart isn’t compelling – then how can he be the real Jesus?
“Nobody knows what we’re for only what we’re against when we judge the wounded. What if we put down our signs crossed over the lines and love like you did?”