Thursday, November 26, 2009

A Call to be Different
A Call to be Jesus

In the movie “Consipracy” Dr. Wilhelm Kritzinger objects to the Final Solution, the Holocaust. He tells General Heydrich this story:

A man had grown up loving his mother dearly. But his father was extremely abusive and this man grew up to hate his father. His mother died when he was 30 but the man did not weep for her, he just treasured her memory. Ten years later his father died and this same man wept uncontrollably.

You see, the man had let his hatred for his father almost become his motivation in life and now that motivation was gone. His life was now empty.

I Pet.2: 9 -But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light;

Let the followers of Jesus Christ be different and peculiar in this generation. Army doctors who knew Nidal Malik Hasan, the Fort Hood shooter, said he was “belligerent, defensive and argumentative in his frequent discussions of his Muslim faith”. They also remarked that “his behavior, while at times perceived as intense and combative, was not unlike the zeal of others with strong religious views”.

It is profoundly sad that many unbelievers who read that description of Hasan would equate him with some Christians they know. It is true that we can isolate certain events in the life of Christ and formulate a depiction of His approach and demeanor centered on those events. But it also true that the overwhelming essence of the life of Jesus was one of grace, humility, and redemption. One only read the Sermon on the Mount to be presented with major principles of self sacrifice and self denial.

Who are we? Are we moral warriors or cross bearers? Are we called to fight for our earthly rights or are we called to suffer persecution? Look around and listen as professing believers write scathing articles about “liberal” politicians and support their aggressiveness with a bold faced lie that suggests America is a gift from God. Listen as they murmur and complain about anything and everything that does not go their way from the President to healthcare to taxes. And if you are honest, how can that be considered compliant with the New Testament commandments for a disciple of Jesus Christ? It is not.

We are called to a peculiar life that seems at odds with the hustle and bustle of earthly issues and battles. Our humility should make us vulnerable in a world of defensiveness and aggression; however the weapons of the Spirit go against the wisdom of this world. The caustic venom spewed by some believers is counterproductive to any genuine manifestation of Christ. We should never allow the darkness to choose the field of engagement, but we should live a life of brilliant salt that shines redemption high atop a mountain called Calvary and not Sinai.

I fear Christianity has dwindled down to written theologies that are resolute in their effort to remain Biblically accurate, but continue to drift further away in its personal reflection of Jesus Himself through the living epistles who profess His name. But we are called to BE different, not just believe differently. And this difference should not be microscopic; it should be profound and startling in its observation. I continue to struggle much more in my manifestation of Him than I do with my statement of faith, and none of us should feel content with that situation.

Is anyone even listening? How many believers have stepped down from the stage, taken a seat, and watched and listened to the interactive play among the community of believers? In many ways we have become a caricature and a cartoon that behaves in seriously flawed ways. When Wild E. Coyote got a rock dropped upon him that was ten times his size it was funny because it was so absurd. But when believers crush others with their word weapons we seem to find that valiant. Does anyone even look for self righteousness anymore? We understand what the word humility means, however its practice lies with the Holy Grail.

There is everything right with defending the gospel and confronting those who are dismantling and changing the path to eternal life. However there is nothing right with attacking individuals for everything from moral failure to political perspectives. We are followers and imitators of the God man Jesus Christ and our lives are supposed to reflect and project Who He was and is. We are to be different in a world of different shades of darkness. Our uniqueness cannot be some moral platform shared by conservative unbelievers, and in fact our lives must be boldly consistent in their humble love and graciousness. We must be Jesus.

Think about those words: We must be Jesus. The weight of that thought is staggering in the natural to say nothing of the supernatural. I can be bold. I can be understanding. I can be forgiving. I can be judgmental. I can be angry. I can be compassionate. I can be gracious. I can be harsh. And most of all I find it easy to be myself.

But I find it very difficult to be Jesus.

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