Our World Needs You!

“We pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.” -Romans 14:19
 
Our world needs you!
 
You are God’s front line against the hate that spreads. You, who have chosen Jesus, you are likewise chosen by Jesus, and sent into hostile territory. The hostile territory I’m talking about, is the moment you connect with someone else. It’s dangerous! Those other people: they don’t think like you do. They don’t believe like you do. They don’t have the same ideas, the same opinions, the same values. They don’t agree with you. And we are really struggling with how to get along with others who don’t agree.
 
Our reality is that we live in a divided and antagonistic society. Rather than trying to get along, we defiantly entrench in our stance. We vilify those who think differently. We place people who behave differently on a lower level of value. Our mind frames people with different views of the world as stupid, idiots, morons. We feel justified in insulting them, belittling them, wishing curses on them. And when we find people are wrong, we tear into them without mercy. Just follow any social media thread for more than three responses…there it is. This is the landscape of our society. And it is erupting into physical violence. Anger, hatred, pain, are spreading. And the drive beneath all of this is fear. Our society is wracked by a godless fear. 
 
Jesus-followers, this is why Jesus needs you! You see, we have Christmas! Into a world torn by evil, Jesus was born as the Light, the Hope, the Peace. He came to heal the ravages of sin, by taking all that punishment on Himself. He paid the price for sin, and won forgiveness for all people. He instituted a kingdom of mercy. He died the death that our sin deserves, dying on the cross, and now offers life abundant and eternal. This is the Jesus we have chosen to follow. He creates a new way, a different way, an alternative. He is working to bring healing and wholeness to a hurting world. He is bringing in a new order, based on love, perfect love; this is His alternative. He brings love to our world, our reality. His perfect love casts out fear and creates new life. Jesus sends us–we who follow Him and His alternative way–He sends us into this hostile territory of our society, to be different, to show a different way, to live a life of love, and to offer that alternative to others stuck in the trap of anger, judging, degrading, condemning, fear.
 
It’s time that we grow up and show others how to do it. We live out this love in our lives first. Jesus-love is the basis for all our relationships, not the uniformity of our thinking, or them getting certain understandings right. We make the intentional choice to love others.  Love chooses the other first, and then seeks to sacrificially serve them in ways that build them up. That means we put away the childish antics, anger, condemnation, devaluing, hatred, fear. Growing up means making Jesus’ love the way we live, and the way we relate to others.
 
Jesus-followers, it’s all about love. This is the basis of all that we do, how we live, how we behave, what we say, and how we interact with others, how we treat them. Our society shows us all kinds of wrong responses: name calling, condemning, judging, belittling, hate speech, violence, fear. But we are different, and Jesus sends us out into that cultural landscape to bring this difference. It is not easy. We have the same feelings welling inside of us like everyone else. But we also have Jesus, and His love to change us. And so, as we are sent, we must make the constant, ongoing choice to live by love. It’s a continual choice, one we make over and over again, choosing love, choosing Jesus. We choose Him daily, sometimes every hour. We choose Jesus whenever we talk to others, and they start saying dumb stuff, revealing errors in their thinking, behave wrongly, have such different worldviews. We are tempted to join in the condemning culture. But we choose Jesus, over and over again. How do we have those difficult conversations, in a loving way, with people who think so differently? We do it when “we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.” This is what love looks like. Jesus is sending you. Jesus is depending on you. He needs you to live out His love in your daily lives. It’s hard work. It’s a choice. But it is the one thing that will change everything.
 
Pastor David