Admit it. You’ve heard it. You’ve said (or at least thought it). It’s cliché: Jesus came to comfort the afflicted, and afflict the comfortable.
But somewhere along the way, we often get lost, get comfortable. Too comfortable.
In fact, we maintain a tacit dislike of things which make us uncomfortable. If something doesn’t fit into our neat religious categories, we’re apt to do one of about four things:
1) Ignore it, hoping it will go away.
2) Actively shun it, shut it down, drown it out (this is but a manifestation of denial).
3) Label it, trying to make it fit into our “recipe box” of life (like forcing a square peg into a round hole). As of life is supposed to fit into our categories.
4) Crucify, and vilify, it. Actively speak out against whatever it is.
We give lip service to that cliché (“comfort the afflicted… “), but don’t like to made to feel uncomfortable ourselves? Why is that? What did we think? That coming to Jesus would solve all of our problems? That being in the world, but not of it means that somehow we’ve now arrived in Happy Land?
Jesus didn’t view the world that way; in fact, he’s on record saying that those upon whom the Tower of Siloam fell were not worse sinners. Things happen in a fallen world.
And coming to Christ doesn’t make us “in right, outright, upright, downright happy all the time.” Coming to Christ doesn’t mean we get magically delivered from the consequences of living in a fallen world. There is pain, suffering, evil… in short things we can’t understand, or explain.
For instance, a lot of you won’t go see a movie like The Conjuring, because you don’t do “horror.” It makes you too uncomfortable. Yet you’ll watch the evening news every night without batting an eye. And talk about horror! This despite the fact that both deliver the bad news in showing that yes, there is inexplicable evil in the world. Yet only one shows there is indeed a power greater than evil.
And it ain’t the evening news, folks.
The ironic fact of the matter is that sometimes it’s only through fiction that we can get to the heart of reality. We have to be willing to embrace discomfort if we want to grow. Growth doesn’t happen without pain.
But I’m not just talking about our media choices, rather about stepping outside our comfort zones. About reaching out in love, about doing that sometimes most difficult of all things:
Listening. Before we offer a snap judgment, or jump to an unfounded conclusion. For instance, and this is crazy! Sometimes (most time) people are just sick, and aren’t “harboring uncontested sin” in their lives. Or are not demon possessed (remember, “greater is He Who is in me than he who is in the world”).
If we are going to say it (“comfort the afflicted…”), let’s act on it, okay?
The simple fact is that things (and people) don’t fit into our neat little boxes. God’s a person, too (the Person), and can we fit Him into one of our boxes? I don’t knew about you, but I’ve been trying all of my life, and he keeps shattering all of my paradigms…
My point in this rather long, rambling, post is this:
Do you want to be a shiny, plastic person with all the answers, or someone who embraces the uncertainty? It’s not all happy, but it can be holy.
My challenge to you today: do something outside of your zone.
Thanks for reading!