In the wake of the horrific shootings in Orlando, Florida the term RADICAL has sparked a national, if not worldwide, debate. This event could be the hewing cry for all of us as Christians to realize that it is time to radicalize ourselves. Please read on:
Before I write another word, I want to say that my heart is broken for and my prayers go out to every family touched by this tragedy. Any loss of life is difficult for the friends and family members who are left behind. If you have ever stood in a hospital next to someone who has been suddenly and unexpectedly injured you know the fear that is present as you hope this individual survives. Both of these scenarios are made that much worse when an unfathomable, senseless crime of this magnitude is the cause for those injuries and deaths. Something like this touches the lives and consciousness of the entire world.
Please may I ask you to stop reading for just 60 seconds to offer a prayer for every family member or friend of someone affected by this shooting?
We must realize that we are being called to do something. Now is the time that we must unite in a common cause. We must understand that we are at war. Yes, we are at war against radical hatred.
May I ask you a few personal questions? What was your immediate response to the news of the shooting?
Maybe you joined in the chorus of those clamoring for more gun control. Was this your time to make your case on this divisive issue? Perchance you instead joined in the opposition and you spoke your mind in favor of gun rights and the second amendment.
Did you use this opportunity to share your views about gays? Were you part of the collective voice speaking out against homosexuality and did you join in the diatribe of the preacher from Sacramento who wished God would have allowed all of the gays in that nightclub to be killed? Perhaps instead you used this event to take your stand against homophobia and speak out for more rights for the LGBT community.
Here is my last question. Was your first thought “We just need to bomb all of the Muslims?” Did you state something like this: “Those radical Muslims have declared a jihad against us so we need to in turn declare a holy war against them?”
No matter which way you answered the questions above you may have answered wrong. This is without doubt a time for RADICALIZATION! This is a time for a HOLY WAR! This is not however the time for the type of radicalization or Holy War that you might be thinking of.
In 1990, the initials W.W.J. D. which of course stood for WHAT WOULD JESUS DO took the world by storm. These initials were printed everywhere and on everything. Where have all those bracelets and slogans gone? Maybe, just maybe, we could not accept the answer to WWJD because the answer was just too radical. Now may be the time to revisit that all important question. You see, Jesus’ teaching were very radical. You can find the answer to: “What Would Jesus Do,” in one of His most radical teachings in Matthew 5:38-48
Teaching About Retaliation
“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil. When someone strikes you on [your] right cheek, turn the other one to him as well. If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic, hand him your cloak as well. Should anyone press you into service for one mile, go with him for two miles. Give to the one who asks of you, and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow.”
Love of Enemies
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have? Do not the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brothers only, what is unusual about that? Do not the pagans do the same? So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
Those verses are without doubt a radical way to live. Essentially Jesus said that anyone can love someone who loves them in return; however, loving those who don’t love you in return is a completely different ball game. He calls us to something radically different, He challenges us to love our enemies and to pray for those who persecute us.
We have been summoned! We have been called to radicalize! This is the time and now is the day to see if Christians really are any different from non-Christians in the way they respond to this and to other world tragedies. Are you ready to join this revolution of love?
Can we set aside all of the rhetoric and grand standing long enough to allow Jesus’ own words to settle in our hearts? Don’t make this the time for a gun issue, a gay issue or a Muslim issue. Make this a time of LOVE AND PRAYER! This love and prayer must extend not just to the victims and their families but to the shooter and his family and friends as well.
There will be plenty of time for debate on the other issues. Now is not that time!
In John 13:34 we read “I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.”
Are we truly Disciples of Jesus Christ? We can find that answer in John 13:35. “This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
BE RADICAL! Join me in the Jesus revolution of LOVE!
Jesus, please teach me to love like you do, amen.
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