Jul 25, 2012

Trash and Truth

There's a lot of trash going around these days.

A lot of trash being said about Christianity and a lot of trash being said by Christians.  It's gut-wrenching to me.  Honestly, I get a twisted knot in my stomach of anxiety when I read too much and start thinking about what an ugly, messed-up image is being displayed of the church... partly because of the unbelief and hatred of those on the outside, and partly because of the ignorance and hatred of those on the inside.  Sometimes I want to jump in the ring and start fighting because I want to defend what I believe in, but the wiser part of me knows to keep my mouth shut.  (At least for the most part, right?)

The only comfort from this broken, damaged, adulterated idea of Jesus that's being thrown around is Jesus himself. The real one. The one I love.

When I think about Jesus, the knot unravels. I simply cannot help it if the world sees the broken image from afar and turns away in disgust, or if foolish Christians choose to misrepresent him.  I can only pray that people's hearts will quietly long to discover the truth about him, and that one day they will.

If we'll allow ourselves just for a moment to look past what Christianity "looks like" in the contemporary, social scene and look to Scriptures at Jesus himself, we'll find a man worth noticing.

I think Jesus was the kind of guy that walked into a room and turned heads.  Not because of his physical appearance, but because he was unpredictable, enigmatic, and mysterious in an exciting way... yet also unassuming, friendly and humble.  People were drawn to him. 

He would sometimes preach sermons in the temple to the Jewish believers, sometimes tell stories on a hillside to anyone who cared to gather and hear.  

He was funny.  He liked to play with words and beat people at their own game when they tried to trip him up with tricky questions.  He went to parties and drank wine and laughed with his friends and brothers.

He was tough on sin, yes- he told people to repent, but it's important to remember that he was harder on the religious people who took pride in their own righteousness and condemned the sins of others rather than their own.  The only sin that he seemed to treat as "worse" or uglier than the rest was pride within the hearts of those who claimed to know him.  

He took special notice of the lonely, the outcast, the crippled.

He spoke up for people when no one else would and he didn't like bullying.  

He forgave freely.

He was fiercely unafraid.  He claimed, unabashedly, to be the son of God and our only way to the Father.

I imagine him sneaking off from the pressing crowds like he often did, stealing away to be alone on a hillside with his Father.  I imagine his human hands, tanned and worn like a carpenter's, folded together in prayer.... or maybe tucked behind his head as he looked to the sky... or maybe picking at a flower or the grass as he let his mind wander peacefully into prayer.

I imagine this man that was, that still is.  And I know that he's mindful of all this.  It makes me feel ashamed and encouraged all at once.

There will be a time when he will finally make himself known again.  Until then, I can only hope that, one-by-one, people will long to know him truthfully.  Not the FOX or CNN or Huffington Post or Chickfila or Westboro Baptist (shudder) or Facebook or even Baretribe version of him. 

But Jesus - the real thing.

5 comments:

  1. Beautifully written. I was fretting about this just last night...imagining all the ways I would put various groups "in their place " if I could for dragging my Savior's name through the mud for their own agendas. Thanks for reminding me that He can very well defend Himself if presented freely and with love!

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    1. Thanks for the kind words, Julie. Its good to know that I'm not alone in feeling this way!

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  2. I found myself getting emotionally riled up just last night while reading heated interactions between believers (though I'm not sure they all believed the same thing...ha). You hit the nail on the head, ma'am. I turned off my phone and laid my head down and I gave it to Him, because they're all his kids. And I thanked Him that He's bigger than the stones they pick up to throw, and bigger still in that He can woo them into letting those stones go. That prayer for a truth-hungry Bride has been on my lips almost constantly lately. I should add, though that I pray just as earnestly for my own appetite. Thanks for writing! And I am sorry for this long comment! :)

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    1. KK, I love long comments :) And I love the way you see things. Its good to remember that we aren't ever close enough to Jesus that we don't hunger the truth for ourselves just as much as everyone around us. Its just like the story with the stones, Jesus tells us to put them down and examine ourselves before we look at others in judgement. It reminds me to give grace even to the "dirty fighters" because we're all stone-throwers sometimes. Thanks for your perspective!

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  3. Wow. I loved this post!

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