A Great Mystery

One of life’s greatest mysteries to me are Christians who claim the name of Christ, yet resist following his way of living and being. I don’t understand it at all.

Jesus has specific commands for us – to love our enemies, to care for the poor, to feed people, to welcome the stranger, to share the Good News, etc.

Yet, there are Christians who refuse to do these things – stubbornly none the less. There are Christians who excuse away what Jesus calls on followers to do. There are Christians who spin it all away. There are Christians who come up with all sorts of reasons why it’s ok to not love your enemies, to not do all we can to feed the hungry. There are Christians who come up with all sorts of excuses for why they don’t have to welcome the stranger.

It just seems that these Christians spend a whole lot of energy and spin to find ways to not actually follow Jesus. And I don’t get it. Why call yourself a Christian if you aren’t actually interested, or even going to make an effort, at actually trying to follow Jesus?

Maybe this has to do with who these Christians think Jesus is. I don’t know. I can’t speak for them. All I can speak for is myself. To me Jesus is the Savior, God Incarnate. That means when he says something, I need to take it seriously if I’m going to consider myself a follower of Jesus. Followers follow – they do what their leader/teacher tells them to do. That’s kind of basic.

Followers don’t come up with excuses for why they can ignore what their leader/teacher tells them to do. Followers listen and read what their leader/teacher tells them so they know how to follow.

To me, Jesus isn’t something that I can put in a box and pull him out when I determine I need him – like a genie in a bottle. No, Jesus isn’t small and controllable like that. Jesus is beyond my control.

To me, Jesus isn’t interested in maintaining the world as it is. He is interested in transformation of the world and people in it. He wants the hungry to be fed, the stranger to be welcomed, the sick to be cared for, the prisoners to be set free. He wants those bound by systems of oppression to be set free. Jesus doesn’t settle.

And when Jesus says that any who will be his follower must deny themself, take up their cross, and follow him – that’s serious business. That means I’m not in control anymore, and that following him is costly – very costly.

But this also means that what he is about is the best thing ever. So why wouldn’t I want to follow?

I just don’t understand the stubborn resistance of some Christians to actually try to live the way Jesus calls us to. I don’t understand why we would make Jesus second or third or even last in importance. I don’t understand why Christians would put their politics ahead of Jesus. I don’t understand why Christians would ignore the plight of the poor. I don’t understand many things. And I probably won’t ever understand this.

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