By Brooke Luby
Everyone wants change. We hear the cries for change resounding from the pulpit and the political platform. We desire to see our country hold fast to the moral values it is rooted in, and when we see these roots being pulled from the ground like weeds, we can’t help but develop a little righteous indignation.
Everywhere you go, everybody has an opinion. One side or the other, or somewhere between. We all want life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We want to see the hungry fed, injustice to be a thing of the past, but how we get there is another story. In daily conversation, in the news, all over the internet we hear these opinions voiced, and how to deal with all the very complicated problems. And there are no simple answers.
Or are there?
To be honest, I don’t have complicated answers. I am not a brilliant thinker. I have so much to learn about the world around me. I am not some future world leader, and I am definitely not a politician. But I love Jesus and I know I can learn from His life and what He did.
Sometimes I forget that the world Jesus stepped into was slightly worse than the one I was born into. The Jews’ history was on pause. Centuries of attempting to follow the law, only to continue to be oppressed by it, had left God’s people weary and nearly hopeless. They clung to the old promise spoken by prophets:
God will send a savior to rescue us.
And the Savior came unexpectedly, sneaking in instead of coming in glory and power. They wanted a grand show, they wanted someone to take control, they wanted a warrior. Instead, they got an infant, born in a barn to an unwed girl.
As Jesus grew up and into His ministry, he refused to live up to the standard the people had set for him. When those who followed all the rules tried to trick him with intellectual traps, he refused to step into them. When the disciples tried to “fight the system” using power and control, He rebuked them.
The expectations were for the Messiah to rip the carpet out from under the corrupt people’s feet. Instead, He ate dinner with ungodly people and healed the sick.
We believe change will come from the top down, but the kingdom of heaven seems to work in an opposite way: one person at a time. Love entering in, transforming and spreading out. We want to slap a moral sticker on laws and procedures on our land and call it a day, but does that really change people’s hearts?
Look at any issue in the world and tell me one that it doesn’t stem from the simple fact that we don’t love our neighbors.
How can we love when we don’t truly know the love of God? We are only capable of loving because He first loved us in a way that is completely irrational and unconditional. What if a revelation of that love was enough to change the world?
Jesus refused to be politically involved, and he wasn’t out to play any games. He spent way more time talking about the kingdom of heaven than the kingdom of Caesar. He understood that love was the only way. In fact, the only thing Jesus “protested” was the religious people who kept trying to put a burden on peoples’ backs.
When Jesus ascended, He commissioned us to share the Good News. The good news is “tidings of great joy!” It is not trying to argue and convince someone about the authenticity of the Bible. It is not giving people a list of do’s and don’ts. It is not manipulating people by scaring them with eternal flames, or promising eternal golden streets. It is not getting someone to join your side.
The good news is a joyful announcement of what has already taken place. Death and sin has been conquered. God already fulfilled the law on your behalf. Stop trying so hard. To quote the song Dreamlife by Sleeping At Last, “The war that your fighting has already been won.” This is grace.
We live in a society where “No news is good news.” Turn on the TV at 6 o’clock and you will hear about the H1N1 Virus, the latest murder, the latest terrorist activity or the healthcare crisis. I could never be a news anchor, I would get depressed. But can you imagine the relief when they actually get to cover a positive story? Imagine the joy of being able to announce a heroic event that saved hundreds of lives. Imagine being able to announce that the war on terror is over, or that the national debt has been completely canceled.
That is our privilege as followers of Jesus. That is our great commission.
What if that was enough?
Brooke lives in the middle of nowhere in east Texas, trying to live, understand, and write about Grace. She makes great pasta salad. Check out her blog.