Those that are not for us are against us.
Those that are not against us are for us.
These seem to be two contrary thoughts–even a contradiction. Yet Jesus said both of them.
And due to a lack of understanding, the soldiers of the cross all line up behind one campaign or the other.
Some churches firmly believe that the Gospel is under attack by a sinful world, manipulated by Satan.
Other churches insist that people are basically good, and it’s up to us to help them through their hard times so they can find themselves.
We even divide our political parties along the same lines. Devout Republicans tend to favor isolation, and the Democrats are proponents of intervention.
We also see this clearly with James, John and Judas. James and John were isolationists. When they came to Samaria and the people rejected them, they were angry and suggested the folks should be destroyed for their lack of hospitality.
Jesus rebuked them and said they didn’t understand what spirit was working inside them.
Judas, on the other hand, criticized Jesus for spending money foolishly instead of taking the funds and using it to feed the poor. Jesus replied to him that the poor were never going away, and if we try to resolve poverty, we’ll end up angry and bitter. He said the best we can do is offer what we can afford.
The battle still rages today:
Are we going to be a church of isolation, a country of isolation, or should we favor intervention, both spiritually and politically?
What is the way of the Earth? What is the true message of the Gospel?
Did Jesus come to isolate off a group of believers, or did he come to intervene in the lives of everyone?
The Gospel interrupts.
It offers an alternative. It sheds light and produces salt as evidence of another possibility.
The Gospel interrupts the process by offering a more common sense, logical, easier and gentle approach.
When the Pharisees brought the woman caught in adultery to Jesus, they asked him what he thought they should do. He doesn’t answer specifically. He says, “If you have no sin, you should feel free to cast the first stone to kill the woman.”
The Bible says at this point, he turns around, stoops and fiddles in the dirt with his finger. He leaves it to them to come up with the right answer.
It is rather doubtful if we can live in a world that is an Internet click away from covering 25,000 miles, and believe we can isolate ourselves from other nations.
It is equally as ridiculous to contend that our intervention–taking over the circumstances of nations–will do anything to generate permanent resolution.
Jesus has called his church to be an interruption. While enjoying our lives of simple Gospel bliss, we offer an alternative to others through our example and our generosity.
Jesus said, “I didn’t come to bring peace. I came to bring a sword to divide people.”
The ultimate interruption.
To be a Jesonian believer is to understand that isolating ourselves from others does not alleviate being at the mercy of their insanity, but also understanding that intervening and thinking we can feed all the poor is equally as unstable.
What we can do is interrupt.
In the process of living a full, joyful life, we brush up against others, and in doing so, we plant the seeds of better notions. For after all, people are not changed by being ignored or controlled.
They must see our good works to glorify the Father in heaven.