Have you ever been reading something, and all of a sudden you realize the word you just read was TOTALLY WRONG? Because your mind either skipped over something or replaced a word with one that made no sense in context.
It’s like those facebook posts that declare you are a genius because your brain can decipher a word with only the first and last letters in place, while all the others are scrambled.
SIDE NOTE: I love being told I’m a genius.
So, today, as I was reading something, my mind did this exact magic. It’s a verse I’ve read a million times – it’s up on my fridge right now, actually. With my brain in secret and full preparation to punk me, I read, “Let the message about Christ, in all its ridiculousness fill your lives.” I noticed in maybe a split second the word exchange my brain made. I stopped to re-read what I was sure I had misread. The actual verse says in all its richness, which, I guess is true too 😉
But, to be honest, my first thought after this magical mind-punk was . . . Well, it is kind of ridiculous, isn’t it?
To believe that the least among us will be the greatest. To follow the example of a man – however much God you believe Him to be – who allowed himself to be innocently murdered. A man who took everything I believe is natural in relationship and turned it upside down to say that the greatest form of love is self-sacrifice. A man who forgave before forgiveness was sought. A man who kissed those who betrayed him.
A man who taught that being great does not matter when compared to being redeemed . . .
It is utterly preposterous that Jesus – however much God you believe Him to be – would enter the ugly, broken world we live in and submit himself to pain. That he would not set himself up above his people in a place of safety and authority, but would choose the life of a servant . . . a blue collar worker . . . a radical.
It actually kind of confuses me at times, in an “I’m actually super mad” kind of way, that when God became human and came into our world, He did not come to overthrow corrupt governments or to free the slaves trapped in untold evils . . . at least not in the sense I understand it. I get angry that he didn’t come to fix the problems that seem to be the most urgent in my own life.
How upside-down and utterly fantastic is it that God actually believed that what needs the most reform is our hearts? That the symptoms are not the sickness. And, that the sickness is an almost incurable need of the love of the one who made us . . . a truly self-sacrificing love.
And, how ridiculous of Jesus to believe He could change everything.
I think He knew. I think He knew that when placed face to face with my own intention and ambition and heart condition, I would see the depth of need in me.
I would see how arbitrarily my own efforts will end. And I would see that all my life is only a brushstroke in the masterpiece of the whole story of creation and redemption and newness. I would see that even my most pure intentions are like mopping up water without stopping the spill.
And, in that moment, I would realize how only a ridiculous message of self-sacrificing, heart-altering, redemptive, non-expectant love could actually change anything – maybe even EVERYTHING.