Our job is to…

I’ve watched too many people get caught up in the polarization around them. Heck, I’ve gotten caught in it too from time to time. It’s easy to do. And I get it – it’s about being part of a tribe, people just like me.

But there are many problems with polarization. It pushes us into us and them. It lives on the belief that the ends justify the means. These things are not life giving. They are not in alignment with Christlikeness. They are the antithesis of Christ.

Recently I have been thinking about the polarization that we face. I’m perplexed by how much of a hold it has on so many people – a type of death grip on people. And I’ve been trying to figure out what to do about it. I went down the road, all too often, of trying to convince people of how destructive polarization is. But the more I have tried to convince, the more people dig in. I became frustrated and angry, losing hope that things and people could change.

And then it dawned on me – my job isn’t to convince. The core of this is the realization that I can’t fix anyone else. I can’t save anyone either. Heck, I can’t fix me. How in the world would I possibly fix someone else? Convincing is not a part of our calling.

So what is my job – it is to proclaim and invite. If I’m trying to convince, then I’m doing it wrong. If I’m trying to convince, then I’m putting the weight of the world on my shoulders, thinking that I can save people. In an odd twist, if I’m trying to convince, then clearly what I’m arguing is actually pretty weak at it’s core. All I’m really trying to do is convince myself that what I’m arguing is true. If I have to convince anyone, then how good is it?

Rather, my job is to proclaim and invite. I can’t control how others will respond. I have to let go of the anger of people rejecting the invitation to a better way of life. I have to let go of the hurt of rejection. Even Jesus was rejected. I imagine it hurt him greatly – especially knowing what we have offering to people. I have to let go – not because I have to convince myself of this, but because this is the invitation that is offered. A better way to live. And the only real option that makes any sense at all is to let go of it all.

Letting go is easy to say, but can be difficult to put into practice. The people of Israel wanted to keep going back to Egypt after being freed from slavery. They were free, yet had a difficult time letting go. Things that hold us in bondage have a way of doing that, don’t they? Yet, this is our job. It’s what we are called too.

Proclamation and Invitation. Proclamation of a message that sets people free from what holds them in bondage. And invitation to a better way, a healthier way, of living individually as well as in community.

Proclaim and Invite. Drop the convincing.

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