There is a very strange view of Jesus floating around in certain circles of Christendom these days. One that does not line up with the biblical view of Jesus at all. It’s like some people think He was Mr. Rogers or Winnie the Pooh or the nicest most polite person that ever lived. This belief seems to manifest itself mostly when Christians try to stand up for truth or defend the bible in some area that is culturally unpopular. Suddenly they are bombarded by comments such as “now would Jesus say that” or “that is not very loving” or “lets be nice” or the now famous “you are not being very Christlike”. Well according to the Bible, Jesus was not what these Christians would consider nice.
Jesus was regularly in trouble for being inappropriate (Lk15:2). He called people out on their behavior (Jn4:15-18). He wasn’t above calling people names to make a point (Mt23:33). He was even confrontational to his own followers (Jn6:67). He said his purpose in coming into the world was to testify to the truth (Jn18:37) not to bring peace (Mt10:34). Ouch! That’s like falling into the gorse bush. He made it clear that he was bringing the good news of peace with God but for us who believed in Him it would mean tribulation, persecution, separation, discord, and hatred from the world.
Then some in the holy hundred acre wood would say “Now, Brad, but Jesus was only brutal with the self righteous, judgemental, religious people like you!” (oh trust me, they have said that.) Of course they would be referring to when Jesus addressed the Pharisees and scribes. But he was also quite frank with just everyday poor, lost people like the woman at the well in John 4. After a brief talk, she asked for salvation and he confronted her with her adultery. Elphalumps and woozles! Oh he led her to salvation, but He was not very nice about it. And he didn’t just “compassionately and patiently reveal himself” as was suggested to me once, no, he also unrelentingly laid her open with the details of her sex life. He got all up in her business! Silly ol bear, Jesus was not nice, he was brutally honest.
A thoughtful spot
Ok after that, I need to do a little clean up huh? I am speaking of Jesus’s time on earth and specifically the biblical record of his time here. Also, I am not suggesting that Jesus was mean or unloving. He did lead the woman and many from her village into salvation that day, which was the single most loving thing he could do. But her testimony to the villagers included His revealing of her secret sins (Look it up, John 4, I’m not going to do it for ya!). Jesus’ expounding of love was always kind from an eternal perspective but not necessarily nice in the moment. Removing the gorse-bush thorn is painful but it’s a good friend that does it. Jesus completely focused his ministry on truth, regardless of peoples feelings. Salvation is much too serious of a subject to just be polite about it.
Thanks for noticing me
Christy walks up to a man who is on fire. “Hello. How are you? Well I can’t really understand you through all the screaming but I sure hope you have a great day!”
I asked hypothetical Christy. “Why didn’t you knock him down and roll him around? Or throw dirt on him or cover him with your jacket or a blanket? Why didn’t you do anything to try and get the flames out? Why didn’t you do something!?”
Do you know what Christy’s answer was? “Maybe they wanted to be on fire?”
If Christy really loved the person, the way Jesus taught us to love then she would not judge them as unworthy of saving? She would not be worried about hurting their feelings by calling attention to the fiery death, or wonder if dying by fire was a life choice. The obvious ,most loving thing to do is put the fire out and save them. Jesus told us to love as he loved. He made it clear that he was defining love by his life to be applied to the two greatest commandments: “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.”
Happy Winds Day Roo
We are definitely commanded to love. We are made to love. We are called to love. We are even sent in love. God is love and the two greatest commandments are, briefly stated, love God and love others. On these two love princples the whole of the law and prophets rest. It seems, however, that many have changed the meaning of love. They have stuffed it with fluff! This teddy bear love is expressed by “be nice” or “be polite”. Our culture has misused the word love so much that we do not understand the difference between biblical love and preference. This new cuddly thing is enabling, cowardice, and negligent with an emotional foundation. Biblical love is brave, tough, and nurturing with a eternal perspective.
Our current culture tells us that we should more than just be tolerant of others who disagree with our religious beliefs but to actually approve of them, else be charged with discrimination. As an example: Christians are being called bigots for agreeing with the Bible that homosexuality is immoral. And many Christians are giving into this threat. Especially those who may have a family member or close friend who has “came out”. Should we risk offending them with our morality when they simply have different morals? Morality is not subjective. Either a thing is moral or immoral, it can’t be moral for one and immoral for another. But leaving that aside and focusing on love. Does that mean we should just ignore the fact that they are dying? Just ignore they are on fire? Approve of them being on fire? This betrays a lost sense of the seriousness of sin.
a fierce animal
Sin is bad. -yep I said it. And I meant it. (No Pooh references in this paragraph I promise. ) Sin is bad. No not just in a moral sense but it is also bad for you. It is deadly. Sin is bad for us. Sin is not like getting a math problem wrong. “Oh well we will get it right next time.” Or “I made a mistake, thats what erasers are for.” Or “Well I was never really very good at math anyway.” No, sin has serious consequences. It is poison. Do you tolerate a drug addict, if you love him? Do you approve of his self destruction? Or do you do whatever it takes to save him from his addiction? Do you give him money to go by more poison even though you see it killing him and destroying the lives of others. Would that be loving? Do you just stand by and and watch him slowly die or do you act? Interventions are called, funds are cut off. Locks are changed. Boundaries are set “Tough love” is employed! Why should it be any different for the world around us, dead in their transgressions and headed to eternal torment. Shouldn’t we care enough to employ all the aspects of love to save them? Fierce, tough, brave, unselfish and brutally honest?