by Chude Jideonwo
There are many bible characters I don’t much like. If I had lived in their time, I wouldn’t sit down and have a drink with them. I would respect them, possibly even admire them. But I wouldn’t be friends with them.
Like Isaiah, or Jeremiah; too angry, too bi-polar.
Still conflicted about the Apostle Paul.
The book of Romans is a seminal work on human frailty, but much of the rest is lacking in empathy. But Jesus. My God, Jesus! It’s why it’s so important to me to fight back the distortions of his nature by fundamentalists. And it’s all there, in the Bible. In the words the gospels report. His nature, it’s all there; yet, often distorted.
I feel like Jesus would look down on the lack of compassion, and judgement from Christians & fighting cultural wars, his heart would break. It’s of course instructive that many of the Christians who live judge and attack don’t go to Jesus for inspiration. It’s mostly Old Testament or Paul.
Jesus was so large of heart, so large of spirit, so endless in consciousness. Like, you don’t even need to think he is the son of God; just think of him, first, as a man. He was such a man of beauty; Impatient with hate, dismissive of judgement, large of heart.
Jesus was a beautiful man. Giving, forgiving, listening, understanding, relating, empathising. He was what some call, a son of mercy. How did his followers get so angry, and faithful and full of the fury of condemnation, and … xenophobia?
It’s all this ‘heretical’ teachings that take symbols and words and twist and bed them to fit whatever prejudice is in vogue in that age. Every generation has had its interpretation of the book of Revelations for 2000+ years to fit its social context. And in this generation, our apocalyptic influencers insist the job of Christians is to delay the anti-Christ. *Shudders*
Delaying the anti-Christ often means, in their telling, fighting ‘sin’, attacking the ‘sinful’, fighting cultural wars; To do this, they often descend on the book of Revelations and stretch and pull every word and symbol until it fits that assignment. I have no doubt that they truly, truly believe in what they say, and their hearts may be in the right place. But it’s oh so dangerous when Christians leave the simple, clear words and teachings of Jesus and the example of his life and witness, to pursue evil.
Sometimes I understand why the world is so cynical, so suspicious of Christians and Christian motive. Why they disconnect from our culture, and attack beautiful experiences like worship, or tongues, or prayer. They don’t see what I see when I am in many gatherings and I see the family of God’s children in worship, in fellowship. Connected, broken, emptied of self and ego and ambition, and fear and hate. Ah, worship, it’s a blessing to watch people in worship.
But then, those same people get into the world after service and then they become this judgemental, angry set of people. It really confuses me. Really confounds me. Like, how did you lose that pure state, that Jesus-state, so soon? How did you let it go? How did you let love go? How did you let compassion go?
Jesus was a disruptor. He was a spiritual disruptor. And that disruption was to the Judaism, Zoroastrianism, and all of that of the times the eye-for-an-eye, God-of-wrath stranglehold. His disruption was love.
If it wasn’t love, then there was no point of His coming. The religions of the time already had judgement, condemnation down to a pat. If that’s what he came here for, then it was unnecessary. But he came because his message was radical and revolutionary.
The way I see it, God was tired of the disruption of his true image for millions of years. He sent Jesus to make it right. To reveal his true nature that prophets and priests had struggled with for years. Jesus came to earth to model God’s true nature. That’s why it’s so difficult to justify a gospel of hate with his life. You can’t use Jesus’s words to justify this self-righteousness.
You often have to turn to flawed apostles, or visioners. I’ll stick with Jesus. I’ll always cast my lot with Jesus. Stop “fighting for God”. He doesn’t need your help. What he asked you do is work on your life and bring others to him through that life.
Listen, Jesus didn’t send the church to fight the devil for him. Nope. Jesus already won that battle on the cross. It is finished. Anytime the Bible teaches about the Devil, it’s in relation to a Christian’s personal life. Resist the devil and he will flee “FROM YOU”.
It’s not for you to carry weapons and go claiming you are fighting the devil. God doesn’t need you help fight the devil. God needs your help to fight for salvation and to draw others to him. And his weapon for that is love. The more you spend time fighting the world, the less time you have living a better life as a Christian. Matthew 7:5
When Christians stop persuading and start coercing, we have moved so far from what Jesus taught; we’ve practically turned our backs on him. I so desperately want people to meet Jesus; to meet this beautiful, incredible guy. All this hate from Christians makes it so hard.
*Jideonwo is managing partner of media network, RED. One of its companies is the faith-focused brand, Church Culture (churchcultureinc.com)
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