This isn’t about taking sides.
Last weekend, while I was watching the meteor shower up in the mountains, a fight broke out in my country. I had spotty cell service and ended up hearing about the conflict second-hand.
My heart broke.
Before I had even heard about the incident in Charlottesville, social media was blowing up with pointing fingers.
My side was being blamed. Their side was being blamed. Everyone was casting fear and blame.
The thing is, I don’t have a side other than Christ and him crucified. Period.
While we were still enemies of God, he sent his Son, Jesus, to redeem people from every tribe, tongue, and nation. That is a love that doesn’t just see past borders and ethnicities, it’s a love that relentlessly pursues them. It’s not passive.
We have a Savior who wept over Jerusalem, spoke with kindness to prostitutes, prayed for the soldiers who were killing him, and stormed the gates of hell for people who betrayed and deserted him.
And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments.
Hold up! The very people sneering at him, nailing him to a cross, passing judgment on him, scourging him, and gambling over his clothing, are the very ones he’s praying for? Yes.
He was asking God to not hold their actions against them, even to his detriment. If that’s not radical love, I don’t know what is.
Now is Not the Time to Divide
We have a mission. We have a calling. And we have a Love to imitate.
I love the way Pastor Steven Furtick (Elevation Church) puts it in his video “Evidence:”
“Move! Now! From dread to expectation, from bondage to freedom, from mourning to dancing, We’ve got to charge to keep, we have a God to serve, we have a gospel to preach, we’ve got broken hearts to bind, we’ve got hurting people to heal.”
So, let’s get our hands dirty. Let’s wash our enemy’s feet. Let’s welcome in the sojourner. Let’s extend grace and freedom. Let’s radically love the orphan and the widow.
There’s no time for fear.
It shouldn’t be in our vocabulary. We’re more than conquers in Christ. We’re victorious at the foot of the cross. We’re authorized to infiltrate enemy territory. We’re commissioned to love the least of these.
We need to see people the way God does.
A tribal chief in Chad carries the same Imago Dei (God’s image) as the yoga mom on Rodeo drive. If we all saw each other’s worth and value through God’s eyes, our swords would be put down. Permanently.
I like to think of our position on earth as being secret agents for Jesus. We have the skills, the empowering, and the back-up needed to enter into the toughest regions and situations with complete confidence.
Borders or lines on a map mean nothing. Languages are no issue. No wall can keep us out. No weapon formed against us will prosper.
Be a Bridge Builder
Christ built the greatest bridge ever: the one from our darkness to God’s glorious light. He stood in the gap. He took the blow. He bore the wrath. He entered in. He overcame.
Instead of getting caught up in who’s right, who’s wrong, and who hates who the most, let’s radically love the person in front of us. The way Jesus did.
I’ve found that when I sit down with people who are different than me, we actually have a lot in common. It can be scary. It can be hard. But I promise you, it’s worth it.
I was recently shown something that has radically altered my worldview. My pastor has a little catch phrase that bounces around in my head every time I’m at a crux of choose unity over division. He says, “people are not the enemy. People are the mission.”
We don’t fight flesh and blood. No, we radically love them.
All Scripture is taken from the English Standard Version (ESV).