I heard Andy Stanley say last weekend, “Becoming a Christian is easy. Following Jesus is almost supernatural.” Because, if you don’t choose to follow Jesus, you’ll be satisfied just believing the right things…..instead of doing them. We will be content in the believing and knowing instead of the acting and reacting.
There is a lot going on in our country and around the world. I know you’re anxious. I know you’re worried. I know you’re unsettled. I know you’re ready for peace. I know you’re ready for calm. I know you are.
But, you have the power to bring it. WE have the power to bring it.
You have the power to bring that peace and bring that calm.
I’m not going to sit here and type a dissertation or argument on why one needs to understand what our black friends mean when they say “Black lives matter.” I’m not going to try to convince people in a blog post about what white privilege is or tell you how to feel about it. I’m not going to tell you the countless stories of heartbreak and fear from my black friends to try to sway you to understand. And, believe me, there are many.
Instead, tonight, I want to talk about what we are called to do when people are in pain. When hearts are broken. When fear is overtaking those we love. When anxiety is overwhelming. I want to talk about what we do when we hear pain and when we see it. Because, I know what Jesus did. He didn’t ignore it. He didn’t wish it would go away. He didn’t justify it or excuse it. He certainly didn’t get angry about it.
Instead, He listened and leaned into it. Not only did He listen and lean into, He poured His peace and healing out onto it.
And, not only did He pour His healing onto it, He gave His life for it.
He gave His life for the hurting. For the oppressed. For the happy. For the sad. For those who were winning and for those who were losing. He gave His life for those who were suffering and those who were in pain. Without asking anything of them. Without demanding anything in return. Without touting His own righteousness or how He had lived a human life so perfectly……and could He not have boasted in His perfectly lived earthly life? I don’t need to give out my resume of righteousness and good deeds. None of us really should be boasting in our humanity. Because, that’s not love, and that’s not Jesus.
So, in this heart-wrenching time where people are raging and shouting…..and where people are suffering and crying out in pain….
I’m going to follow Jesus. I mean REALLY follow Him.
That means I’m not going to justify my own life. I’m not going to say “Yes, but…..” I’m not going to wish it all away. I’m not going to hope it all just fades. I’m not going to ignore it.
I’m not going to deny people’s pain and suffering.
But, I’m going to prefer it.
I’m going to prefer those who are hurting.
I shared with my own little family this week that we HAVE to prefer people’s pain. We do it in our own family together. I’d bet you do it in yours. Your spouse or your child is hurt. Maybe they are hurt by you. It’s easy to sit there and justify our actions or say “That wasn’t my intent.” It’s easy to respond with “That is not how I said that” or “That is not my heart.” But if I want to bring healing to Kris or one of my children, I have to OWN it. I can’t tell you the times, that even when I didn’t fully understand their pain, I looked at them and said, “I am so sorry you are hurting. What can I do to make it better?”
We have to prefer people’s pain. Actually, we have to prefer people period. And, to do this will take divine humility. It will take empathy. What is empathy? It’s understanding and sharing the feelings of another human being. And, we can’t understand each other and share each other’s feelings without listening. Without owning.
Without leaning in.
Without pouring out healing.
And, without sacrificing what we think, what we feel, and what we want for someone else. That’s what following Jesus looks like.
That’s what love looks like. And, that is what healing and peace look like.
And, it’s within each of us.
We just have to decide if we are willing to settle with believing that people matter to God and are extremely valuable…..Or, we decide to follow Jesus and do the things that show people they DO matter.
I do it in my home. I work hard to do with those I’m in relationship with. And, I am called to do it with every single person walking this planet.
If Jesus is the answer (and I believe He is), then let’s follow Him and do what He did.
Tonight, I pray for eyes to see people the way Jesus does. I pray for ears that hear people’s pain. I pray for hearts that lean in to heal.
I pray for you. I pray for this nation. I pray for peace.
And, I pray I become peace.
May we all become it as we choose to follow Him.