I saw a quote the other day. It said:
“Christians need to stop standing up for Jesus, and start standing up like Jesus.”
That’s my prayer this week. I’m praying for the words and the heart and the wisdom to be salt and light. I’m praying for the gentle kind of love that turns people away from ugliness and drives them towards God’s embrace. I’m praying for justice, for a thirst for justice that parches the Christian community and leaves them panting for real refreshment. Jesus places the people on the margins, the borders, the edges of community in the center of his relationship. He gives each person dignity. How can I be more like that?
The biggest challenge we face, every day, is to shine light into the darkest corners of our own hearts. I have my selfish moments. I have my fears. I have my judgments. What does it mean to give those up, leave those things behind and follow Jesus? Are we changed people? Is there anything different, softer, more true about who we are and what we do because we know him?
I want, I desperately want, that answer to be yes!
In an “age of outrage” (a term from Ed Setzer), the church has great potential to paint a different picture, of a different way. The church can paint a beautiful picture of God’s Kingdom Grace if it chooses to demonstrate sacrificial, hard, unwarranted acts of love. The church is us. We can be examples of God’s love and redemption when we do the hard things, and love in the hard places.
Lord, make me a means of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love. Where there is injury, pardon. Where there is doubt, faith. Where there is despair, hope. Where there is darkness, light. Where there is sadness, joy. O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console, to be understood as to understand, to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen. (St. Francis Assisi)