This picture was taken while we were in Northern Ireland. A brightly painted mural on the side of a house was I’m sure painted by a dreamer pleading to be heard by a divided people. We took it at a time as our own country struggles with this challenge. Rather than gazing through our own heart’s door we sadly seek a poster child to blame. We continually scroll our feeds for opportunities to defend our perspective and what little we think we control. Rather than quieting our minds and placing ourselves in another’s shoes, we rant about all the reasons we are right. But comically, a world full of us’ would still be broken and full of tragedy. It would still be afraid and insecure. It would still be arrogant and polarized. We should wrestle with the changes we need to make but most often we ignore this daunting task as we are afraid of what it might reveal. As a country we don’t even attempt to hide our arrogance and are filled with comfortable communities whose apathy has led them to believe they are thriving as long as their screens lie in their palms. It reveals a church losing relevance as it seeks to control a hopeless world rather than one who serves and grieves. A church that has often not earned the right or platform to be heard as it falters to perform its’ most basic task of caring for the fatherless, the forsaken, healing the broken, advocating for those who suffer from injustice, or be driven by the pursuit the Father’s heart. As families we busy ourselves to the extent that we don’t know each other, and as as individuals we have bought into the idea that we deserve and are our own gods. This struggle isn’t a new one, but I want to show you my Son the best example of humility, of courage, of love.
For thousands of years now people understandably want to understand. But too often the understanding is desired in order to assign blame, to mask insecurities with the pointed finger, to shallowly avoid having to feel. The lepers were believed to be impure and the blind suffered due to their father’s sin. For thousands of years now, people have cast the first stone as their own plank blinds them. But sadly my son, that is not why we are here. That is not what gives life, nor hope, nor reconciliation, nor freedom. Christ walked the dusty streets and healed those who believed. Those who only hoped to touch his cloak. The forsaken, the wealthy, the minority, the educated, the unclean, the slave, the owner, the whore, the visibly broken, the thief nailed to the cross beside him. Those who only hoped He could speak healing from the distance. He took the time to listen to the Samaritan woman at the well and showed mercy as He dined with the hated little crook who came down from the tree. He cried with Lazarus’ sisters who wished He had just returned a few days prior, and yet his own brothers couldn’t stay awake in His time of being forsaken. When they did awake, their fear swung the sword. He pursued understanding one’s grief and situation. He spoke life into those who wanted to hear, but first He served. He earned the right to be heard through how He gave. He spoke life through relationships and humility. He was not out to prove himself right but to be love, and give freedom through truth.
Your own humanity will be a constant struggle. Your own arrogance will be a never ending battle, but fight on, my Son. See the urge towards pride, young servant, and let it make you quiver. Root it out, little warrior, and let the passion and disdain for the death it brings lead you to change the world within you. Fear not what you are able to see, but fear what you don’t think you are capable of. Do not let your eyes turn to the distractions that surround nor take the bait to place the blame as you protect your own paradigm that is most often a facade.
If you want to be brave, then face my heart’s fears. If you want to be great, then learn to lay you down. If you want to be beautiful, then use the reflection of Truth and a brother’s insight to guide you as you groom your heart and mind. If you want to be remembered, learn to listen, seek understanding, and weep with the masses who grieve. Do not be afraid to feel. If you want to be happy, learn to be thankful. If you want to be strong, you must learn to face the humanity in you that must be changed. If you want life, seek wisdom and understanding. If you want to live forever, you must daily lay your will down and pursue the heart of the Savior who redeems you. You will be a world changer, my son, but it will be the result of you….. changing you.