It’s a difficult task these days to scroll down a social media feed. From passionate rants to absolutely meaningless dribble, the gulf is wide. An absolutely tiny percentage of what I view comes from people that I know and am in genuine relationship with. While the massive proportion are no more than a mere acquaintance at best, I might not even recognise them if I ran into them on the street.
Hot topics circulate frenetically as our ideas are billboarded along the vastly overpopulated highway of social thought and opinion. Keywords like:
- Same sex marriage
- Intelligent design vs. Evolutionary science
- Biblical based hollywood movies
- Police brutality/#blacklivesmatter
I have 5 sisters and I love them beyond something I can practically gauge. They have children of their own and these children make my heart melt. I don’t yet have children, but I can’t wait to add to the already unbelievable line-up of cuteness.
My sisters and I don’t see eye to eye on a number of key issues on life, faith, morality etc.
At this stage of life, I might not always agree on every aspect of how they parent their children. Some of that stems from our differing views and belief systems. While most of it is simply because I am not a parent and haven’t the fondest idea yet what it looks like to shepherd a young life.
Some of these differing views might change over time, some might not.
Regardless of any of those disagreements or shifting opinions, the cold hard truth is that I would lay my life down for any one of them without a second thought. We may get in fairly heated exchanges from time to time about something important to us, like any of the above topics. We might even let these debates rage into something fierce, where voices go far beyond being raised and venom flies from our lips. The reality is, that regardless of any disagreement, when push really comes to shove, I would take a bullet, step in front of a train or jump off a cliff for any one of them or their kin. No questions asked.
Maybe the Church needs to position itself this way a bit more?
I don’t believe for a second that the Church should be backed into a corner and forced to change it’s stance on key issues. However, I do believe we have a constant opportunity to lay our lives down for those we don’t see eye to eye with. By doing so I believe we emulate exactly what Jesus did for all of us.
“There’s no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
Jesus didn’t merely demonstrate love by saying:
“Love the sinner. Hate the sin.”
Or in other words:
"I love you, but I hate what you do, and maybe one day when you stop doing the things I hate, you will understand and embrace that love."
Some of my more biblically versed friends will say that this is true, that this is the gospel. But this is not the story or narrative hook we’re given in scripture. Romans 5 says that Jesus went further into what love fully looks like by demonstrating:
"But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners."
Or in other words:
“Love the sinner? Then die for the sinner.”
If we say we truly love the world, it’s not enough to say that we are taking a stand on issues because we are committed to truth, and therefore doing it out of love. Our right to believe what we believe in, without oppression or even being hated is NOT something Jesus promised us. He actually invites all who call on his name to follow him and lay down their lives for the sake of the world, and not just metaphorically. This is a literal invitation to take up his yolk, to follow his example.
If we take Jesus seriously here we will ask ourselves whether we are fighting for humanity to know the risen Jesus, or are we merely fighting for democracy? Are we fighting for our rights when Jesus invites us to lay ALL of them down at HIS feet? (even rights listed in revolutionary constitutions)
The next time you encounter something you don’t like on Facebook, in a news article, or in conversation, do something different. Instead of proclaiming truth with just words, lets ask ourself this question first.
“Am I willing to literally die for the people involved in this issue? And not just the one’s who already agree with me.”
If the answer isn’t an immediate yes in our spirit…
Let’s take more time to develop the mind and attitude of Jesus.
Let’s ask him to give us more of his spirit. Let’s ask him for the courage to pick up his mantle of true, pure and perfect love. I truly believe Jesus will meet us in that moment and the ensuing moments of genuine inquisition.
Let the wisdom of this world and it’s definitions of love be completely and utterly dumbfounded by the purest form of love this world has ever known. Let the world stand in awe of a Church that lays down it’s life for the sake of it’s friends, and friends yet to be.