I don’t like noise. It hurts my ears, makes my heart race, and jumbles my thoughts. It leads me to cliffs of anxiety and panic, so I tend to slowly back away from the ticking time bomb.
And oh-my-gosh, there’s been a lot of noise lately. In the media, around dinner tables, on courthouse lawns, in churches. And I’ve been standing on the sidelines, not because I don’t care or have my own convictions, but because I don’t feel like I need to contribute to the sounding sirens because:
1) I’m not jumping on the bandwagon of “Jesus is coming soon because the world is going to hell in a hand-basket.” Listen, Jesus has always been coming soon—sooner today than yesterday. And the world has always been going to hell because, sadly, too many Christians—Jesus followers—believe what they have to say is more important than what Jesus had and still has to say.
2) I hate dividing lines. I hate picking teams. I hate that I stand here and others stand there. I hate that navigating through this world is hard.
Jesus drew lines in the sand. And what He divided was the stone thrower (the religious, ahem!) from the one who needed love and acceptance, healing and freedom.
Jesus picked teams, a team of twelve whom He’d pour into and teach, correct, lead, challenge, and send out to change the world. A team of ordinary people who wouldn’t always get it right, who’d speak out of turn, who’d act on impulse, who’d deny Him; but they were still His team, chosen to make other disciples, teaching them to love as He loves, serve as He serves, walk as He walks.
And, Jesus stood here while others stood there. He stood accused by the religious for crimes He didn’t commit because they were too arrogant and pompous to clearly see and surrender to their need for Him. He stood alone to teach truth and hope. Here He ate with the sinner, defended the sinner, loved the sinner, while there others watched gawking.
He gracefully navigated through the difficulties of life and in the midst of the terribly hard, Jesus remained kingdom focused. He knew His Father’s mission. He knew His purpose. He was not deterred. The love He had (and still has) for the sinner—me and you—was far greater than the temporary, earthly pain He willingly endured.
So yeah, I don’t like noise and I don’t like contributing to it. And I hate dividing lines and picking teams and standing here while others stand there.
But because Jesus chose me, I stand with Him.
I stand with Him because there’s no denying the selfish, destructive path He’s rescued me from.
I stand firmly planted upon the Bible because it’s brought healing and hope, freedom and purpose to my life.
I stand with Jesus loving and accepting, embracing and welcoming the one who’s about to be stoned by the religious because I have no right to cast any stones only to say, “from now on sin no more.” (John 8:11)
To those who stand with Jesus, who’ve been called by Him, who’ve dropped their stones of condemnation, I pass along this encouragement and challenge…
Yes, there’s so much going on in our world right now; the news and social media and conversations had by many are inundated with happenings that are shocking and sad and seem to focus on all that’s wrong in the world. But when we fix our eyes, not on the bad that’s swirling around us, but on the epicenter of Good, there’s a firm foundation of Truth that we can deeply bury our feet into. In the midst of all this craziness, God has chosen you and me for such a time as this. We’re His right in this world of wrong. He’s chosen each of us to be a part of this generation of people that He’s raising up to make a difference. People who will genuinely love and serve and be His hands and feet to those who don’t know Him, to those who are hurting and rejected, broken and alone. God’s chosen us to reach out in love and compassion, not bitterness and hate, to anyone and everyone offering to them healing and wholeness and wellness in Him. He’s chosen you and me to speak Truth and stand on Truth and share Truth in this time and place where Truth has been twisted and taunted and become a cuss word instead of a word filled with hope.
We are His light. We are His vessel. We are His person here on earth called, not to keep His saving grace hidden, but to throw it up onto everyone that comes into our lives because our salvation isn’t meant only for us; it’s meant to point others to the One who’s given our lives purpose and meaning.
So, today I challenge you to press on. Press on to know the Lord. Lean into Him. Learn Him. Love Him. Let Him lead you into the darkness and then shine brightly for Him.
“Let us know; let us press on to know the LORD.” Hosea 6:3a, ESV