Posted by: Leigh Reynolds | September 4, 2015

Safety Zone

KeepYourEyesTI had to run a few errands this morning. I was wearing the T-shirt from this past summer’s Musical Boot Camp at FBC NKC and the bank teller commented that she liked it. We chatted briefly about boot camp and I went on my way. But as I walked out of the bank, I got to thinking… When I wear this and other similar, Jesus-loving T-shirts, does everyone I encounter feel safe?

A certain resident of Kentucky has been all over the news for “taking a stand for her faith”. There’s this ‘church’ in Kansas many have heard of that often makes the news for their protests and the way they “take a stand for their faith.” We read news stories about bakers who “take a stand” by refusing service. It goes on and on.

I read the stories, catch glimpses in my Facebook feed, see notifications in my CNN alerts. What I see over and over again are angry faces of judgement, anger, and hate. I don’t see Jesus.

I am a horribly flawed human, struggling to make my way in this world and I get by best when I keep my eyes focused on God. I read and study my Bible, read books and blogs by Christian authors, seek His face as I go through my day – in a beautiful sunset, the happy chatter of my son, the flowers I somehow have managed to keep alive in my front entry garden… I see Him there. I don’t see Him in those news stories or confrontations.

Jesus didn’t go to the well, confront the woman of ill repute, shame her for her sin and berate her into salvation.

Jesus didn’t join in the stoning of the woman caught in adultery, he stopped it by speaking of love.

Jesus didn’t tell the story of the prodigal son, saying “the son came home and after a vigorous tongue lashing and shaming by his father, his dad finally acquiesced and let him come home on a trial basis, noting he had to prove his worth or he was out.” In Jesus’ story, the father ran to his son… Ran to him and hugged him. Before the son could plead his case, swear he’d changed his ways, or promise to rebuke all his sins, he was welcomed home by his dad, who then challenged the other brother to do the same. (And in case you missed the point, his dad represents God and we’re the brother.)

That’s my Jesus. Radically loving, endlessly forgiving, mindbogglingly welcoming. And that’s who I try to be. I fail all the time and fall short far too often, but I keep trying. Because I want people to know I love Jesus and still feel safe.

Safe_Place

I do recall reading about when Jesus got very angry, threw over some tables and gave a few folks a strong talking-to. It was in the temple, to the religious leaders, who were restricting access, passing judgement and charging a fee to assess someone’s worth and thus access to God. But I recognize that is God’s job, too. Jesus didn’t send in the disciples to do that.

I can’t chase after Jesus and love on some people and not others. I have to also try and love that lady in Kentucky, that person carrying the protest sign at the gay man’s funeral, that guy with the Confederate flag tattoo and NRA sticker on his truck. And to do that I have to chase after Jesus all the more.

My prayer is that we all give that a shot. As Christians, we have to chase after Jesus and create a safe zone for those that don’t know him, as well as one for those that think they know Him but really they just know of Him. It’s so easy to love the people you agree with, but we have to love the people we disagree with even more. Because that’s what Jesus did and we’re supposed to try and be like him.

So today I am praying for that lady in Kentucky. For that church in Kansas. For folks who love their guns more than they want our community to be safe. And I am praying for all the people I just pissed off. Lastly, I am praying for me, because I am just as messed up (or more) than anyone on my prayer list today.

Lord_Refuge

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