Perhaps the next time someone asks us to put on a mask and our natural instinct is to get on our self-righteous soapbox about how we live by faith and not fear, we should reconsider two things: first, do our lives really reflect living without fear (and do we really want them to?), and second, is that actually how Jesus would respond?
Moving forward, I will strive more fervently to “err on the side of love,” as the saying goes. This does not mean I will stop pointing out what I see as uncomfortable truths. I believe more than ever we need that in our current time. But I will seek to be more engaging and less compelling. I will do all I can to not speak out of bitterness and frustration, but instead pursue grace and an invitation to discussion.
If we profess to follow Jesus, we must follow his example. And if we are going to invoke his name in connection to our lives, the result must be a diverse community around us that can report what they’ve seen and heard.
Jesus sought these people out. In some cases they came to him, in others they merely cried out to him, and in several he literally pursued them. The savior of the world, God incarnate, went out of his way to affirm the humanity of these people. His empathy for them reflected his knowledge that they bear the image of God. His actions were those of someone pursuing a lost loved one.
According to Genesis 1, God created humanity in God’s own image (which inherently means we are called to love, create, and care for the things God created) and gave humanity dominion over it. While some like to use those words to profess no need to care for it, that completely contradicts the nature of God with God’s own creation. If we’re created in the image of God, then having dominion over something would more strongly correlate to feeling a deep sense of responsibility for its care and well-being.
Fear and anxiety reflect a nature of doubting. When Jesus calms the storm (Matthew 8:23-27) after His disciples all panic, He replies “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” A while later when He walks on the water and they panic thinking He’s a ghost, He tells them not to be afraid. And when Peter steps out of the boat to walk with Him, it’s when Peter’s focus turns away from Jesus that he begins to sink. Jesus’ response: “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”
Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about potential. I think some of that has to do with my current status of seeking employment and trying to discern which listings suggest the best fit and provide the best opportunity for both the company and me, but it goes far beyond that. Last night I had a …