I recently read through the comments on a blog I wrote several days ago and got an unsettling feeling. I’m no stranger to criticism, but it’s true the personal attacks on my character get to me. There’s really no way to engage them without getting more of them so I’ve learned to ignore them. I doubt I’m the only one who feels this way. We each have to take personal blows. If we put ourselves out there at all, we get shot at. It doesn’t matter if you write a blog or not, we take shots at work and at home and at church. It’s the spirit of the world.
I watched the recent Frontline documentary on Syria and in a tense scene a few journalists were trying to get through the streets of Aleppo toward the front lines of the conflict. The journalists would put their packs against a wall and wait for the shooting to quiet down, then quickly run across an open street until they could find cover on the other side, then do it again at the next street.
Sometimes life feels like that, doesn’t it? It feels like you’re just trying to raise your kids, do your job, have healthy relationships, meanwhile all around you there’s a war going on. Snipers are waiting in the bell towers. Your Mom or Dad or child or boss says something to you and it buzzes right behind your ear like a bullet intended for you head. You duck and crawl back behind the cover of your friends or your faith or your coping mechanisms just to escape. Or worse, you never let yourself be known at all. You never venture into the streets.
Honestly, I think this is how Jesus saw the world when He came. He saw senseless fighting and social, territorial battles for supremacy. And He wanted little to do with it. The most amazing thing about Jesus is it’s never recorded that He rolled His eyes. All our arguing must have seemed so silly to a man who knew about love and ultimately knew the solution to our problem was to be reunited with God. All he kept saying was trust me, follow me, let go of this place, come with me.
Jesus invited us to another place, a place where there will be no bullets. He invited us to be with Him, and I for one believe someday we will be.
How do we stop the war here on earth? We don’t. We can certainly make it better by negotiating peace and teaching our kids about restraint and kindness, but make no mistake, the war will rage on. And like Christ, our role here is to invite people out of the danger zones and into a relationship with Christ where we wait to be reunited with Him.
Duck. There’s a sniper in the trees. Perhaps here in the ditch we can talk about how nice it will be to be with Christ. Our hope is in Him. I put up my white flag.