Monday, September 17, 2012

I'm Okay, You're... well, I'm Okay

"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you." Jesus in Matthew 28:19-20a

Talking to people about Jesus takes courage. A lot of courage, even in a free country like ours. Okay, especially in a free country like ours, because who are we to tell people what to believe? I mean, really. What right do we have?

Belief has come to be a very personal thing. We're afraid to believe others' behavior or beliefs are wrong lest we be seen as intolerant and judgmental (but go right ahead tell me I'm wrong for believing you're wrong...) So... 2 + 2 can = 5 if that's what makes you feel good, just don't blame me when you fail your math test.

No, that's not right. If true is true for you but not for me, then truth loses all meaning. Just ask yourself if the claim, "There is no truth," is true. No one gets upset when you tell them 2 + 2 is 4 and not 5, but try telling them Jesus is the Lord, and all of sudden everyone feels like you just called their mother fat. It's as though saying, "I believe in Jesus," is the same as saying, "Pineapple on pizza is gross." No, it's not like saying that. It's like saying 2 + 2 = 4.

Pineapple on pizza is a personal preference, but either Jesus is Lord of all or not at all. His existence---or lack thereof---is objective. If all paths lead to the same place, we forget that Jesus said, "I am the truth, the way, and the life, no one comes to the Father except through Me," and we leave a lot of "no ones" out in the cold for the sake of sparing their feelings. Sure, Jesus can be my Lord and not yours at the same time. Just don't blame me when He comes back and... oh, wait. You should blame me. Jesus will. (Matthew 18:6; Mark 9:42; Luke 17:2)

In a world where Science with a capital “S” has the final say, we forget about the basic rational requirement for a creator, an "unmoved mover" if you will, and we start to believe that we can live without Him. And anyone who says otherwise is selling us as humans short and how dare you do that, you silly little idiot.

*sigh* There really is nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9b). The Word of God was never what one would call "popular." From the time Jesus told His disciples they had to eat His flesh and drink His blood, it hasn't been well received, and today is no exception (see "Hard Sayings"). Never let anyone make you feel stupid for believing the Word of God, AND never ever, no not ever, try to make anyone feel stupid for not believing it. It is, after all, hard to believe. Hard, but not impossible.

If God is God, then He created the world in 6 days. The whole world. But what about the dinosaurs, you ask? 40 billion years sure sounds a whole lot more reasonable for the age of the world than 6,000. Or does it...? And why does it, exactly? And then humans would have to have been created separately from apes which is just right out of realm of reasonableness even though it would explain why apes and humans exist separately from apes today. [...]

Let's move passed the scientific quandaries for a moment and leap into the philosophical and moral nonsense that seems to abound in the book we so foolishly believe as though it, too, had a doctorate from M.I.T.

Adam and Eve ate the one thing they were told not to eat—okay, I believe that—but because of that one little offense, God condemned the whole world so that now everyone gets sick and dies? That is not at all fair! I didn't eat the friggin' apple, so why is my colon in tatters? Sure, I eat metaphoric apples every day in my thoughts, words, and deeds, but I'm only sinful because those jerks ate it first.

But then I inevitably turn on the evening news, and well... the sin that permeates all of creation is a glaringly obvious and fiercely objective part of our reality.

How can anyone reasonably and rationally deny it?? Not even animals treat each other the way we do. People murder each other in cold blood all the time, and I mean ALL THE TIME. It's not even news. It's just par for the course. Wars between nations rage on fueled by greed and hatred and certainly NOT reason. Wives lose their husbands; husbands lose their wives, some die and some just plain leave. Children lose their mothers, mothers lose their children, fathers are becoming more and more rare, and some children are killed outright before they even get the chance to breathe air outside their mother’s womb with the consent of a law so cleverly dubbed as "freedom."

We get sick. We get old. Our bodies neither look right nor work right. And no matter what we've done, no matter how great we were pr how fantastically hard we tried to be a good person, we die. And for some reason, we HATE death—natural and reasonable as it is to the scientific mind—we try everything to avoid it.

Maybe Adam and Eve's transgression wasn't so little. Maybe that act of defiance was born from a desire to be their own God. Maybe sometimes I want that, too, and maybe that's what God condemned.

But no one wants to hear it. No one wants to listen to the truth about the wages of sin, about death, about themselves, their tainted hearts, and heaven and hell, about people who killed their own Savior out of hate, about a Savior who let Himself be killed out of love, about weakness and need, about how they shouldn't feel sorry for me and my illness because my suffering makes sense.

People are offended to hear that they might be wrong, that they might be making a mistake, that they might not be able to save themselves, and so we just keep our heads down and our mouths shut and mumble our prayers in the privacy of our bedrooms and maybe attend church once in a while because that's what people do or maybe not, all the while saying, "I'm okay, you're okay," but thinking "I'm okay, you're... well, I'm okay."

And we pass by drowning victim after drowning victim, hoarding our life preservers for fear they might be thrown back in our faces.

NO! You are NOT okay! You are in serious trouble! And if I let you go on thinking you're okay, so am I!!! PLEASE LISTEN TO ME! It's okay to say it! We HAVE TO say it! If they loved us, if they really thought they were right and we were wasting our time believing in God, they'd be saying it to us.

It's not about rights. It's about lives. We can never assume that we have all the answers because we know that we are not God, but we also know that we have the only answer that matters: Jesus. Take a risk. Save a life: body and soul. Each one is absolutely worth it, and so is His. 

How do I know? I was drowning once, and someone threw me a life preserver. With this illness of mine... I shudder to think where I would be today had he not thought I was worth the risk of rejection. Christ is the ONLY thing I can cling to.

Still too scary a risk? Jesus died for that. But please, try. You're not alone. His command from Matthew 28:20 continues: "And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age."

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