Feeling Safe In My Shell
On the one side non-Christians tell me they are tired of Christian bigotry and hatred for believers standing up for their faith. On the other side Christians berate brothers and sisters for "liberal" identification with traditionally held biblical views of sexuality and relativistic truth. Republicans criticize Democrates and Democrats rebuff Republicans. Loving one another has been turned on its head to mean acceptance of everyone's values, and disagreement is the most intolerant characteristic one can exhibit. There are days I would rather not turn on the news or open up Facebook. Everyone wants a say and nobody wants to listen. Pulling my head back into my shell is comfortable, safe, and peaceful.
Is it possible to be a follower of Jesus and not stand up for the opressed, speak against injustice, or reach out to the sinner? Is it possible to be a follower of Jesus and not identify with the hurting, struggle with the confused, or cry with those in sorrow? Is it possible to be a follower of Jesus and not love the lost, have compassion on the wayward, or offer mercy to the sinner? I think not.
Is it possible to be a follower of Jesus and not stand on the truth, hide the word of God in our heart, or speak the truth in love? Is it possible to be a follower of Jesus and not forsake the world, die to the flesh, or resist the evil one? Is it possible to be a follower of Jesus and not toss aside every hinderences of sin, rebuke a sinful brother, or point out to the world their sin? Is it possible to be a follower of Jesus if I do not lay my heart bear before the cross, confess my sin one to another, or humbly come before the Lord? I think not.
Is it possible to be a follower of Jesus and forsake the cross of Christ, deny the purpose of His death, or reject the power of His resurrection? Is it possible to be a follower of Jesus and hide the light under a bush, be silent in the face of adversity, or shrink back when persecuted? Is it possible to be a follower of Jesus and not seek reconciliation between God and man, and between one another? Is it possible to be a follower of Jesus and not be salt, a city on the hill, or a voice crying in the wilderness? I think not.
It is impossible to be a follower Jesus, at least perfectly. As much as I want to hold all these things in proper balance I fail. I give weight to the side that makes me feel more comfortable, and speak convincingly (or not) against those I believe to be misled. But I must be diligent to seek the kingdom of heaven and press on to know Christ. It is for me to put on the mind of Christ and serve others more than myself. I must be disciplined and buff my body and allow Jesus' strength to lift me in my weakness. At the end of the day I must confess my sin and allow his grace to wash over me, knowing his mercy is new every morning.
This means that I can not be idle. If I speak the truth the world will always feel condemned, and the wayward believer judged. If I love without truth the world will die in their sin and the wayward brother lost to the community? If I speak the truth in love I know that I offer the face of Christ, accepted or shunned? As much as the shell feels safe it is an escape that neither rescues the world or gives solace to the heart. So, today I think I will poke my head out a little bit further and follow faithfully my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I'm just saying.