Oct 112020 3 Responses

The Great Opportunity for those Who Claim Jesus

Imagine if you walked into a crowded room and suddenly pulled a gun. In an instant, all attention would turn to you. At that moment, you would have tremendous influence. People would ignore you at the threat of their own peril.

Imagine walking into the same room but this time everyone in the room already had a gun drawn. You could pull your weapon, but it wouldn’t give you a greater level of influence or power. Chances are no one would notice.

What commands a room in one circumstance isn’t even noticed in another.

We live in a world where everyone already has their gun drawn. Look on Facebook. People are quick to lash out and place blame. Listen at work and it won’t take long to hear how most of the world’s problems can be laid at the feet of one’s political enemies. Everyone has their gun out and pointed at those who don’t think like us, vote like us, act like us, or believe like us. The belief is that all the world’s problems are their fault.

Pulling a gun in a room where everyone has already brandished their weapon would draw no attention, but what would? What would gain attention in a room full of guns? Dropping your weapon. In a room where everyone has a gun drawn, dropping your weapon and approaching others with open hands would give you influence. Some would ignore you. A few would see you as powerless and not pay attention. Some would laugh at you; they would think being without a weapon is foolish. Yet others would pay attention. Your vulnerability would stand out to such an extent that they would be more prone to listen to you. (See: Jesus Doesn’t Want Your Vote)

In a world where everyone has a weapon drawn and pointed at someone, the way of Jesus stands in stark contrast. He invites us to drop our weapons. No self-protection. No blame. No attempt to dehumanize another in order to justify oneself. Instead, Jesus invites us to walk through a world where everyone has a gun pointed at others and simply show our empty hands so that we can share a different way of life.

Put Your Guns Down

We must drop our guns. If we are a follower of Jesus, we must refuse to mimic the normal responses of those around us. The guns we most often choose are:

Blame. We love to cast all blame for any negative circumstance on those with whom we disagree. We don’t take any personal responsibility and instead assume every problem is someone else’s fault.

Contempt. We view others not as people who have different viewpoints, but as others who are not as worthy as we are. We view them with contempt which empowers bad behavior on our part.

Outrage. We often lash out at others allowing our anger to express itself with rage and vengeance. Rather than seeking to understand differing viewpoints, we attack anyone who dares have an opposing opinion.

Offer Your Empty Hands

Not only do we need to drop our guns in spite of everyone having a gun pointed at us, but we also need to offer our empty hands to others.

We need to offer hands of:

Peace. We must prove to others that we are not here for their harm. While we might strongly disagree with ideas or opinions, we will not attack those with whom we disagree. Ours are hands that others can trust.

Understanding. Empty hands are understanding hands. We should continually do the work to understand the viewpoints of others giving honor, respect, and effort in seeking their viewpoint. Few things are more honoring than truly seeking to understand another person rather than having our first goal to be attempting to prove them wrong.

Help. Our empty hands should be for the benefit of others. Whether we agree or not, we must be quick to partner with others in attempting to better their lives. Our empty hands must prove to be for the good of others rather than for our own self-promotion.

Love. Ultimately, empty hands should be loving hands. We desire what is best for others and are determined to do what is in their best interest no matter how they respond to us. That is the radical way of Jesus.

The Opportunity

In many cases, the Church is grossly ignored in our culture. Except for the occasional headline for a pastor who has failed or as a political tool of pollsters, the Church is not seen as having a voice worth spotlighting. Could it be that we are ignored because we are just another group of people with our guns pointed at others? (See: How Jesus Sees the World)

The great opportunity before us is not found by mimicking the actions and behaviors of those around us, but by rejecting those ideas and following the way of Jesus.

Rather than protecting ourselves by attacking others, what if we loved others by giving of ourselves for them.

Instead of being focused on defending our rights, what if we sought to use our voice to fight for the rights of others?

We have a tremendous opportunity to offer a different way. While everyone has their guns drawn and pointed at everyone else, what if we dropped our guns and tried to love people?

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