Sunday, June 26 2022
The church stands before another opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus. What will we choose? I’m afraid our track record stinks. Instead of chasing after the people at the margins with mercy and compassion like Jesus did, we push more people to the margins with apathy and judgement. Instead of using God’s Word as a source of mercy and hope, we use it as a weapon cutting people down. Instead of using our hands to reach out and lift others up, we use our fingers to point out their flaws and sins. Oh how we love reciting the word sin in the church to cast further shame on people already beaten up by unfair and prejudiced systems. We look around at a hurting and broken world and somehow dismiss our own contribution to the hurting. Are we so foolish to think that our failure to be the body of Christ hasn’t helped create the problems in our society?
Jesus was never afraid to get involved in the messiness of other peoples’ lives. After all isn’t that why He came? It was His intervention into the messiness of all humanity that offers us forgiveness, mercy, and hope. Why are we so averse to messy and to engaging real people with real-life problems and challenges? As we toss the word sin around, we use it as a shield to hide behind. What are we hiding from? Do we think we are too good to get our hands dirty? If Jesus wasn’t too good to get messy than who do we think we are? Better than Jesus? I surely hope not.
It is the church’s inability and unwillingness to step into the messy that has allowed the hurting and broken to search for healing in other places and ways. Many of the problems in our world today wouldn't have grown out of control had the church been obedient to God's commands to be His hands and feet. Are we ready to do the work necessary to be like Jesus or are we content to ‘be like Jesus’ in name only? ‘In name only’ is why the term Christian has become synonymous with hypocrite and hateful. There is a storm brewing in our world and only Jesus has the power to calm it. We are invited into His work in the messy places to be peacemakers who listen, who make a difference, and who bring hope and compassion. Are we willing to enter the messy to help the lost and the broken or do we see ourselves as too good to be bothered?
Matthew 5:7-9 The Message
7 “You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for. 8 “You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world. 9 “You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.