On the 22nd of this month I tweeted, there is no neutrality with God. You either actively pursue Him or actively oppose Him. Though this statement would seem to be divisive, it’s true…but when truth is determined in degree’s and not absolutes, then this “all or nothing” statement becomes the source of religious oppression, war, and international division, according to a good friend of mine. He responded very passionately to this statement, which you can find here if you scroll down to April 22.
The discourse between us got me thinking about his perspective on all or nothing statements being divisive, and there is no argument that they certainly do demand a choice…but that doesn’t make them particularly wrong, does it? In as many lights as Jesus has been cast today, a good teacher, prophet, guru…more than anything, we have tried to neutralize Him, and the church is most guilty of all.
A neutral Jesus is safe, inoffensive, palatable, and easy to digest. A neutral Jesus will allow us to invite people into our churches and allow them to not feel uncomfortable, challenged, or compelled to change. A neutral Jesus is the most acceptable Jesus in our post modern culture and limp wristed churches, because we can gather people without there being a call to commitment or obedience to the scriptures. But did Jesus leave us that?
“Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters”(Luke 11:23)
“Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”(Luke 11:28)
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments”(John 14:15)
“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. 36 And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. 37 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.”(Matthew 10:34-37)
These are Jesus’ own words. They are not neutral…they are certainly absolute…and clearly all or nothing, but they lead true followers of Jesus to love more, serve more, know their own frailty and share more of who Jesus is and His gospel of grace. And whatever other responses they elicit, war mongering, hate mongering, hate speech, oppression, we can be sure they are not from the heart of Jesus.