“unquotables” (aka clichés are stupid) #3
people like something to believe in. they like to believe in a cause. they like to believe in a fight for a cause. and they like to believe that they are the only ones who know how to fight for a particular cause. it doesn’t matter what exactly it is, but people really like their own ways because they really like themselves. and if they are going to stand for something, you had better get out of the way if you don’t think the same way.
pause for a second. what kind of person are you currently thinking of? a gay rights activist? a diehard member of the ASPCA? a communist rebel? how about an evangelical Christian church? because that’s actually what i was thinking about when i was typing it. let me just say this isn’t the way i see most churches, but there are nonetheless several churches in our country and in our world that go by their own ways and count others as enemies simply because they worship, baptize, or take communion in a way they do not agree with. in their minds, if you are not for them, you are against them.
let’s rewind a couple of thousand years and travel to a small house in olden-day Capernaum. the Apostle John gets Jesus’ attention and (probably rather proudly) reports that the disciples came across a fellow follower of Jesus casting out demons, but the disciples told him to stop because “he was not following us [them].” Jesus responds by rebuking John and putting forth the bold, daring statement: “the one who is not against us is for us.” wait a second. isn’t that just the opposite of what every hard-stepping, sign-carrying, fully-devoted lionheart has told those who stand idly by? (yes it is.) the rallying cry of many is “if you are not for us, you are against us,” but we see clearly in Mark 9:40 that this is not the case. we would like to believe that our group is the only one that does everything right, but this idea is far from the truth. there are several groups, and therefore several different perspectives and views and ideas. if you’ve ever seen an anthill, you know that all the ants are crawling in all different directions and back and forth, but all reaching the mound and working toward the same end. the disciples were the ones working directly with the Word incarnate, and even they weren’t the only ones doing the right thing. while we may not always agree with others or work with the same people or hang in the same places, we are all on the same team (granted there are some who have wrong beliefs, but none of us has complete knowledge). everyone who has ever been to any kind of sporting event knows what i’m talking about. you don’t have a clue who that dude is two seats away from you. you don’t know what his beliefs are, what kind of car he drives, what kind of music he listens to, or whether he prefers PC or Mac and, frankly, you don’t really care. all you notice is that the colors and design on his hat match that of your t-shirt, and that’s all that matters for the next few hours. Jesus said that all that matters is that a person serves both Him and you. if this is true of anybody, count that person a friend.