Jesus Teaches Crazy Things (And Why I Follow Him Anyways)

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It’s funny. I’ve been writing on this blog for about five years now. And I recently wrote a book that will come out in August. And yet, the last few days, this has been my prayer, “Lord, teach me how to write. I don’t even know how to write.”

It’s not that I don’t know how to type words out on a screen. All of us can do that. But, when I come here to this space, I have your faces in my mind and I want to give you my heart, and sometimes I don’t know how to do that. I see my friends who are skeptics. Atheists and agnostics. I see my Wiccan friends. My New Age friends. My Jesus-following friends. And my friends who don’t know what they believe and don’t honestly care. So, I see a whole sea of faces and I don’t even know who to write to.

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But, my friend, Kinsei, teaches me so much. He lives far away and I don’t talk to him that often, but I’ve held on to some things that he’s said. He, too, is a passionate Jesus follower and he told me once, that the people in my life are simply “my neighbors.” The person across the street (or on the other side of the screen from me) isn’t a Mormon. Or a Wiccan. Or an atheist. They’re a neighbor. Because the adjectives that we use to describe people are frail things. We can blow adjectives away. Tomorrow they could be a Buddhist, so that adjective didn’t really count, but they are always my neighbor. Jesus never hurried up and tried to move people from one category to another category. He simply took time and had a conversation with a human being.

Jesus gave people their dignity.

So, this morning, as I was reading some more words that Jesus said, I felt a burning in my heart. So, I’m going to write about that. And however I can, I’m going to write to all of you. Because, there’s something inside of me that very much wants to move toward you. And the best way that I know how to  move toward you, through typing words out on a screen, is to be as true to myself as I possibly can by giving you what burns inside my chest. And the neat thing about blogs is, you wouldn’t be here if you didn’t want to be. So, there’s no pressure on your end to stay or to listen. You’re free to come or go. And I’m incredibly free to write to those who are curious or looking for something  helpful or hopeful and just want to listen.

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So, here’s where I am today. Jesus said and did crazy things. And He recorded it as a model for my behavior. For instance, He tells His followers (in John 15) to love other people the same way that He loved us. And so I ask myself, “How did Jesus love us?” Well, He loved us by laying down His life for us. And then He tells me, in essence, “Go and do likewise. Love your neighbors as much as you love yourself. Put other people’s needs before your own. And if it comes down to it, lay down your life for your friends.”

Now, I have no doubt that I’d lay my life down for my kids in a heart-beat. Why? Because I love them more than I love my own life. But, my friends? I hope that I would give my life for them, but sometimes I just don’t know what I’d actually do.

But, Jesus goes a step further. He says to love our enemies. He says to bless them and not to curse them. And again, He says,” Love others the same way I have loved you.” And how did He love? Well, even when I was an enemy of God, Jesus died for me. (Romans 5:10) Even when I didn’t give a rip about Christ, He laid down His life for me. And He laid down His life for the people who were slapping Him and spitting on Him and beating His back to a bloody pulp. He loved His enemies so much that He died for them and then He tells His followers to love the world like He did.

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So, for those of us who want to follow Christ, who believe that He really is the Son of God and that He actually did resurrect from the dead, we’ve got to love our neighbors (good or bad) more than we love our own lives.

That’s crazy talk. No wonder we’re always wanting to walk away from Jesus.

Now, I don’t have that kind of love on my own. It’s just not there. But, can you imagine? If the people in the world followed Jesus’ teaching? To love our neighbors as much as we loved ourselves? To love in a I’ll lay down my life for you, kind of love?

Well, there wouldn’t be any more murders. Or rapes.
Or child-molestation.
Or sex-trafficking.
Or physical abuse.
Or hunger.
Or power-hungry oppression.
Or robberies.
And no one would be cheated or lied to or left out or abandoned or looked down upon.

What kind of world would that be? It would be the kind of world that Jesus talks about when He says, “Pray that My Kingdom would come to earth just like it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:9-13)

It would be a place where love abounded and righteousness reigned. I want that kind of world.

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That’s why I follow Jesus. That’s why I write about Him and talk about Him. Because I don’t know a greater love than what He’s got. And the amazing thing is, He gives us the virtues which He demands. I don’t have that kind of love inside myself for the world. But, as I follow Jesus and keep the eyes of my heart on Him, He does this miracle inside of me. He gives me crazy love.

Love that moves toward people. Love that gives people their dignity. Love that helps others, even at my own expense.

And Lord, even as I type this out, I still don’t want to be inconvenienced or have to turn the other cheek. I need Your Love, Lord. Thank You for the cross. I do believe You’re the Son of God and that You did resurrect. Please help me to keep following  You.

1 Comment

  1. by Robin on April 13, 2014  8:23 am Reply

    Maggie, I want that kind of world too. Thank you for another beautiful post. God is amazing isn't He? I can't wait to see you in July. The world is one step closer to the way we, and ultimately God, wants it because of people like you who follow His lead and reach more people then you'll ever know with His word. Bless you.

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