Friday, June 26, 2015

He Kept At It

I sometimes wonder how Jesus did it. As I look around I see so much that is just wrong. There are so many people whose lives are just busted. They're not working right. And as a result, there are so many whose lives qualify as 'a wasted life'. There is so much that they could be, but they aren't, and if things continue as they have, they never will be. As I look at that, it gets me down. I find it so incredibly sad.

I have found myself wondering, 'How did Jesus do it?' He lived in the same messed up world that I do. He saw, to a much greater degree than I can, the ugliness of a once-beautiful creation. He saw the wasted lives and what that meant. How did He manage to keep on going in the face of all of that? Why didn't He just give up?

As I considered this, I remembered that time when He cried over a city full of people whose lives were being wasted, people to whom He had come to rescue them from all of that, people who rejected Him and people He condemned to their foolishness. It makes sense that He cried. I really do understand that. But then I thought, 'What did He do after that?' I figured that answering that question could be very helpful for me. So, I looked it up.

And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold, saying to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a den of robbers.” And he was teaching daily in the temple. (Luke 19.45ff.)

Well, what He didn't do was stop. He didn't give up. And I found that so very helpful. He kept at it.

For one thing, He confronted the false teachers who were doing such damage to people's lives. And He did that quite violently, flipping tables and swinging a whip in the Temple. And then, He kept on teaching. He did that even though He knew that they weren't getting it and that most of them wouldn't get it. That, after all, was why He had been crying over them. And I found that helpful too.

So, this is what I've taken away from all of this. It's good and right for me to weep over the many who could live a life worth living but don't. It's okay for me to weep. 

But as I do that, I also need to keep at it, just like Jesus did. There are those who need to be confronted. And while I may not flip a bunch of tables somewhere, I do need to express the anger I feel at those who deserve it. I'm not good at that. It's something I have to learn. But I think that seeing more and more clearly the damage that these modern false teachers cause in the lives of those many - I think that that will help me to feel free to express my anger. I just hope that I will be able to express it wisely, like Jesus did.

And then, Jesus just kept on teaching - even though. And I need to do the same - even though. I can't help but think that Jesus' attitude in this was that the little dent He made when He taught in the Temple would be followed up by the dents that others after Him would make. I want to make a dent. Actually, I want to make a crater. But I will be content if I can add my dent to the dents that others have made, and to do that in the hope that others will follow and add their dents until it actually becomes a crater - a multitude of lives changed so that they might lead lives that are not at all wasted.

I think that this is what kept Jesus going in the face of such ugliness, and I hope that it will keep me going.

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