Jesus said, ‘I speak in Parables so that people will hear it but not understand.’
And he also basically says that if you turn around to say goodbye to your family before you come to follow me, then just don’t bother.
And unless you hate your mother and brother and sisters, you can’t follow me.
Jesus, it doesn’t seem like you are even trying help us believe.
Dude, this makes me mad. I have friends and family that I want to love you, but I just don’t understand why I would tell them the types of things that you did. Like how could I tell them, “I’m gonna tell you some vague metaphor about how to be saved, and if you don’t get it, sorry, you’re just not gonna get it.” How can I say that?! Or like if I say, “If you don’t desert your whole family you can’t be saved.” That sounds so ridiculous. Seriously, I just have to respectfully disagree with you. I would have done it differently.
There are plenty of issues I want to make concessions on because I want to make it easy for them to love you. We need help to love You in this world! Don’t you see that?! Don’t you want us? Can’t I just bend the rules on homosexuality or submission of wives. I don’t know if you get it but that stuff is SOO UNCOOL these days. Don’t You see that they don’t see how they can love a God that endorses these things?
But then you tell a parable of a father running to his wayward son after he has squandered all the father’s money. And the shepherd leaving the 99 sheep to rescue the one sheep who has gotten lost.
Is there some hidden way that are you doing both? Holding firm to your ridiculous standards and going out of your way to pull us back to you? I just don’t see the connection.
So, desperate for answers, I just looked up that 99-sheep passage. Turns out it’s right after the one about having to hate your parents, wife and children in order to follow Him. Jesus says, you have to give up everything. You must count the cost before you commit.
Yeah, that’s a ridiculously big cost, I’d say.
but maybe this is why we have so many bad examples of Christianity around us. I mean, it’s pretty different compared to the faith that I recorded in Ethiopia that raised people from the dead. Maybe we have watered it down because we want more people to buy into it.
I mean, I understand that. I want more followers and because of that I don’t want to say anything offensive on my blog (and there are a thousand ways to be offensive these days- I did it accidentally here this week, in fact). I think most pastors want more people to attend their church so their job is to make it pleasant. But don’t you see it’s because we want to bring more people into the kingdom! Isn’t that the goal, God? But have we lowered the bar so low that being a Christian isn’t even really being a Christian? We definitely have enough examples of that. Is that what you are trying to tell us to be careful of, Jesus?
Jesus, man, I don’t think I can do this. I don’t think I can hit your high bar. I think I can try but I’m going to mess up. This sucks. And I definitely don’t know how I can tell my well-meaning, non-ridiculous friends and sisters and cousins that’s what you are asking of us, and expect them to think it’s reasonable. I mean, hate your family?! Don’t even say goodbye? Are you really so ridiculously cruel like that?
Or are you just saying I need to be willing to give up everything for you and trust that you will love them through me in ways I don’t understand? With an intelligence and strength and spirit wholly apart from my own?
It’s just so hard.
When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men. So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate. Luke 15:17-22
[Thanks, Francis Chan, for the ridiculously good sermon that triggered this stuff.]