Would the radical Jesus like you? I asked myself that question and thought about it. I let the question sink into my soul. I didn’t give the candy-coated answer like, “Well, Jesus loves everyone so he surely must love me, too.” Would he like me?
In the Gospels I usually identify with all the people Jesus serves. I think that he both liked and loved them. But if I am honest, I should see myself in those groups that didn’t like Jesus and I don’t think he liked them very much, either.
Blessed are the poor, Jesus said. I am not poor. God, I am so rich compared to 95% of the world’s population. I believe I need to slap myself into reality and acknowledge that I live under some sharply stern warnings about money that Jesus voiced.
I think Jesus weeps over my callousness toward the oppressed and vulnerable. I think he emotionally resists how I can be so self-absorbed in the face of starving children, lonely widows and widowers, wayward teens, ignored minorities and deeply wounded gay people.
I can spend more money on one cup of “really good coffee” than most in the world make in a week. I happily sip away oblivious that many are dying of hunger or disease that my coffee money could have fed or medicated. I will not be let off the hook because “Well, I just didn’t know.”
I think Jesus would rub me the wrong way. I think his gaze and his words would rip away my facade of being a nice guy. I think he would take me to a high mountain and show me all the kingdoms of suffering he sees and he would open my ears to all the cries of terror and pain he hears. Many of the voices would be those of children. Then he might walk me back to my favorite coffee place and sit beside me and just watch me sip at my really good coffee. I think I would feel at least awkward and probably very uncomfortable. I think I would want Jesus to get up and leave. And I am not trying to poop on myself here. I am actually wondering if Jesus and I would get along.
And if he does get up and leave, what do I do?
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