I’ve had some questions floating around in my head recently. These questions are difficult and sometimes make me question the Church’s heart: Is it really for the things of God, or do we just preach love on Sundays, but truly hold hatred toward those considered “our enemy”? So, here are my questions. I have no answers, and I won’t try to give any. I do pray that we take these to heart and begin to search ourselves to ask if we really have the heart of God.
Where are the men and women that truly believe that Christ died for us even when we were His enemies?
What happened to the ones who chose to step out in actual faith, take some risks, forgetting what is safe and easy, to love those who don’t know they are loved?
What happened to men and women like our fathers and mothers of the faith, choosing to go to violent and homocidal people, taking with no weapons because “we are ready for heaven and they are not” (Jim Elliot, Nate Saint and three others who died for their faith and an entire tribe was saved because of it), going to the jungles and deserts, and many other “foolish” and “un-wise” things so that the hope of Christ could get to the unreached?
Where are the men and women who believe what Jesus said when He told us to “not resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also. And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away. You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless thosee who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust.” (Matthew 5:39-45)
Where are the men and women like Abraham, who begged God to spare wicked and perverse cities for the sake of the righteous, rather than saying, “Yeah, God, go kill all those evil people!”?
Where are the ones who believe that all men and women are made in the image of God and therefore have intrinsic value to Him?
What happened to a people who believed persecution was a joy, for it meant they got to join in the suffering of their Savior?
When did our fight become one against flesh and blood, rather than against the principalities, powers, and rulers of darkness? (Ephesians 6:12)
Where are the men who shout “May the Lamb that was slain receive the reward of His suffering!” from the ship they have chosen to board that will take them to an uknown land, all so they could proclaim the hope and love of Jesus to the slaves there? (Those men were named Leonard Dober and David Nitschman)
When did we become so afraid of what could happen that we have forgotten to do what Jesus sent us out to do?
I may sound bitter asking such questions, and perhaps I am. But perhaps a holy anger has risen within me, seeing so many who are wrapped up in their own interests, rather than taking an interest in others (that’s in Philippians 2:4). I am not writing this out of pride, thinking I am above anyone. I have my issues and vices, believe me. However, we were given the ministry of reconciliation for all mankind, which includes the person next door, the grocer, and the population beyond our own borders. Jesus didn’t say “Go to all the world, unless it’s unsafe or they’re trying to kill you.” In fact, Jesus promised that the world would hate us (John 15:18-25). That was part of what you signed up for when you became a follower of Jesus. We were never promised an easy, happy life. Being blessed doesn’t mean that I live in complete luxury without a care in the world. I believe being blessed means we are not alone in this ever-increasingly dark world, that we have Holy Spirit within us, empowering us to bring heaven to earth, just like Jesus did. The question is, are we doing that?
What are your thoughts on the matter? Do we live like Jesus did, or do we go on looking at the world the way everyone around us does?