Dying to live
(For those of you that are keeping track, I’m not off the twelve practices, though I am messing with them as they mess with me. More on that to come . . .)
Some of my current cases for work–some that have been going on for a while–have gotten me thinking. And reading. And thinking. And praying. And reading some more. And talking to pastors. And discussing with my business law class. And on and on. These cases involve conflict–conflict caused by the clear evil of the other party.
I’ve decided that what Jesus personally modeled and taught regarding overcoming aggressive evil is as clear as it is disturbing. And no one likes to do it, for obvious reasons. Chief among them being we want to save our life and the cash that makes that life fun for us. We don’t want to lose either of these. For people who want to ‘follow’ Jesus, this is a problem. An impasse, even. Not only because Jesus says it’s an impasse–repeatedly–but because this ‘love your enemies, do good to them, lend to them’ advice, is the nutshell version of God’s strategy to conquer evil in this world. I hope the significance of the last sentence is gripping to you. This is how God beats evil in the earth–with your blood and money and life and mine, as sheeps to the slaughter, just like Jesus. I don’t intend on quoting all of the various texts that make this obvious. The bottom line: He let everyone wrongfully hate him and hurt him, he let go of all rights, and gave his enemies everything, confident in God. In doing this, he won the full on love of many former enemies, and the highest recognition from God. And now we follow the brilliant plan that he taught and modeled. If we’re not willing to pick up our cross and follow him, we can’t be his disciple–because this is the plan. I’m not oversimplifying it. This is what it means to follow Jesus–letting God’s love be enough to let go of everything else. Jesus knew it, Peter, James and John knew it. Paul knew it. Job knew it, Jeremiah knew it, Abraham knew it. This is how good beats evil. I’m feeling a little like a rich, young religious person lately, finding it hard to enter the kingdom of God.