Following Jesus Into the Mess
So, it looks to some as if things in this old world are just going from bad to worse. Those facts can be disputed, but the feeling among some is that the only solution is for us to sit real still and wait for Jesus to come back and sort this whole thing out. Among those sorts, the idea of getting involved in making things better is futile. Why bother with all of that when it's not going to make a real difference? Well, one reason we should bother is because it’s part of our heritage. Evangelicals have always been politically active, and it’s a good thing, too. It was, after all, Evangelicals who spearheaded the abolitionist movement in Europe and in America. It was Evangelicals who championed the cause for a woman’s right to vote. Evangelicals build hospitals and orphanages. Evangelicals drill wells in Africa and build schools in South America.
I’m not denying there has been ugliness and corruption among Christians, too. I know about the Crusades and the Inquisition and the Salem Witch Trials. But let’s tell the whole truth about our Christian heritage here – not conveniently leaving out the bits that don’t fit the script too-often read by revisionist historians whose main agenda seems to be discrediting the accomplishments of Christians throughout the past several centuries. Christians have made life better, safer and healthier for more people than any other group in the history of the world. Look it up.
An even better reason for rolling up our sleeves and getting involved in helping to solve the world’s problems is that it actually looks like something Jesus would do. Heck, it is precisely what Jesus did. Jesus put on skin so he could wear sleeves that would be rolled up as he dirtied his hands with our messes. He healed the sick, fed the hungry, released the captives, preached good news to the poor.
He did all of that, and then he turned to his followers and said, “Tag! You’re it! Your turn. No more sitting on the sidelines. If you’re going to follow me, you’re following me right into the mess, right into the worst parts of humanity.”
If you signed up to follow Jesus, you signed on to engage the world and all of its problems.
But there’s a problem with our engagement lately. Many people who call themselves Christians can’t seem to do it like Christ did – with civility. And if we can’t do it like he did, we don’t honor him and maybe shouldn’t be involved at all.