I follow quite a few pastors on social media, as a means to both encourage and challenge myself. But I'm noticing a trend with some of them - they love to pick fights.
They love to pick fights with the church. They love to pick fights with the culture. They love to pick fights with each other.
There are pastors out there who will latch onto anything, even if they have to spin it to something else, just to get a sermon. Just to make a platform. Just to preach a doctrine they firmly believe in, whether that doctrine is biblical or not. And every time they do this, they are claiming to be telling you that they are just like Jesus...and you are not.
In fact, that's their biggest fighting point on every single topic that they pick - you aren't being very much like Jesus.
The trouble is...neither are they.
If you read through the Gospels, you'll notice one very important truth about Jesus - He never picked a fight. He never went out looking for things to nail persons on. He never went out trying to prove to the world that they were wrong and He was right. He never twisted the words or perspectives of another to try to prove His own righteousness.
Jesus doesn't have a "gotcha" Gospel. He never has, and He never will. Jesus doesn't have a Gospel that is based on confrontation. Jesus doesn't have a Gospel that affirms the world. Jesus doesn't have a Gospel that demands headlines with everything that He does.
Jesus was a really quiet kind of guy, and if you read the Gospels, that's the impression that you get of Him. He was just walking around in His daily life, encountering the things that He encountered. He wasn't going looking for them; He just naturally came upon them as life itself happened. And when He did, He responded in truth, love, and grace.
His life led Him to some strange place, for sure. To a tax collector's house. To a Samaritan well. To the middle of a raging sea. But Jesus wasn't looking for these places. He wasn't looking around at those who followed Him and thinking, "You know what? I really need to shock them a little bit. I need to do something totally bold and crazy and strange. I need to give them something else to talk about."
And yet, these pastors seem to have built their pulpits on this very idea.
They want to shock you out of your pew. They want to make you feel uncomfortable. They want to get you talking about their talking points, which are so often not the things that Jesus was talking about. And they do this by using His name, by claiming His name, and by telling you this is who Jesus was...then berating and belittling you for not being more like Him when really, they just want you to be more like them.
Every single one of these pastors claims he is just like Jesus. Every single one of them. But beware the wolf in shepherd's clothing.
Jesus never picked a fight.