So today (there was a lot of drama that I won’t go into) I got to talk to one of my professors (who didn’t cause the drama but was talking through it with me). He said this in class:
Jesus took part [in culture] to such an extent that people called him a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of sinners.
So I just wanted to kick that topic around with him for a while. I asked him what he thought it looked like to live like that but also to not make our brothers stumble and such. He didn’t have a concrete answer, but some of the things he said just cut me to the core and completely alter the way I think about Christianity.
He was talking about the fact that we need to be Jesus. “We need to get the center right, and the circumference will follow,” he kept saying. There’s so much truth in that. If we get our eyes on Jesus, if we get our mindset focused on seeking and saving the lost, the little gray areas will be navigable by the Holy Spirit, or will even just take care of themselves as we realize the question isn’t “Well how much can I do and get away with it?” but rather “How can I glorify God best in this situation?”
He said something that just hit me right between my eyes. He was saying that we need to be Jesus, which means that when he (professor) talks to a stripper, it needs to look the same as Jesus talking to a stripper. His look needs to be the same, his words need to be the same, his expressions need to be the same, his balance of truth and grace need to be the same.
When he said that, the story of the woman at the well just raced through my mind, and I was slightly overwhelmed–there is SO much to learn to make speaking to people the same way that Jesus would speak to them!!!!
Whatever the person we’re dealing with is talking to, we need to treat them like Jesus treated them. I know, it sounds cliche, but that image of my professor talking to a stripper and how vastly different that could look from Jesus just shook me up. Without even realizing it, and even while trying to be like Jesus, we can completely fail at looking like Jesus. Everything—our body language, our facial expressions, our vocal tones, our words–they must all be completely surrendered to Christ while we seek his lost children.
My goodness, this is such a tall order. How did I not see it before? I wish I could communicate this afternoon with the same force that it had for me.
We talked about how people like strippers are condemned because they’re the “icky” sins, while we say nothing on gluttony, or greed, or pride. The us-them mentality will do nothing to save those people.
He read me a quote from a book, Messy Spirituality, which I just might pick up, because if this prof recommends it, it’s legit. The author said: “Christians don’t condone sinful behavior. They redeem it.”
Right on. That resonated with both of us so hardcore. That’s legit. That’s what being a Christian is about. We can’t just stand on the sidelines with our arms crossed, as my professor said, we have to get in there and be Jesus.
Huge order. But good night, it’s so worth it.
Aren’t you glad someone did that for you?