Monday, July 31, 2023

Like Jesus

Of course, we would all be better off if we were more like Jesus. That's the point, right? Maybe you read my post on Friday and thought that we need to pay less attention to the disciples, to the New Testament church, and even to the crowds, and just focus all of our energies on being like Jesus. 

It sounds good, but...we can't. 

Why not? 

Because we have to think about it. 

We are a people who have to think about whether we're being like Jesus or not. We have to think about the kinds of things that He did and whether what we're doing is like that. 

When we do that, we create categories in our heads. We create types of things - events, persons, behaviors. We're constantly putting things in boxes, even if those boxes are "Jesus-like" and "not Jesus-like." It causes us to see the world in a way that, I'm telling you, Jesus never saw it. 

Jesus didn't look at Zacchaeus and see a weasel-y little tax collector who everyone hated; Jesus looked at him and saw a beloved child of God. 

Jesus didn't look at the sinful woman and see someone of ill-repute; He saw a beautiful child of God. 

Jesus didn't look at the cripple and immediately think, "That's a cripple." No, He immediately though, "This is my brother, a beloved child of my Father." 

Then, we set out into the world to do Jesus things, to try to be like Jesus, and how do we describe our ventures?

"I helped a poor person today!" Sorry, but that's not like Jesus. Jesus wouldn't recognize that person as a poor person. 

"I prayed with an addict today!" Nope. Sorry, again, but that's not how Jesus would identify that person. 

Do you see what we're so guilty of? The more we try to be like Jesus, the less we're actually like Him because in trying to prove how much like Jesus we are, we classify other persons in a way that Jesus would never classify them. That Jesus would never even give first thought to, let alone a second thought. 

And, I think, we're always going to be this way. It is a rare person, a very rare person indeed, who is ever able to look at every single other person and think, "This is my brother, my sister - a beloved child of my Father." Even if we start that way, we don't end it. 

"Hey, you remember that smelly brother who showed up at church last week? I let him come use my shower." Nope. Missed it again. The minute you put any single social descriptor word with "brother" or "sister," you throw every bit of your acting like Jesus down the toilet. Every bit of it. 

That's why we need the examples of the disciples, of the New Testament church, of the crowds - because they were real folk like us. They were the kind of persons we can't seem to help but be. They're the ones who put all the words around "brother" and "sister" in the stories written for us...because they see how we see. 

But they also, often, come to love like Jesus loves. 

And that's why we need to pay attention and learn from them.  

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