The Jesus Kingdom

These are just some thoughts that have been raging through my mind and heart after reading some more of A Farewell to Mars by Brian Zahnd. Hope they aren’t too disjointed but I just had to get them out there. Some of you might be offended. I’m sorry but I think it’s what I have been inspired to put out there, so pray about your response if you believe in prayer, that is. I know I do. I realize the tone is challenging. I believe I’ve written truth that has been placed on my heart, however.

Jesus called some people blind? Who did he call blind? Was it “sinners?” No. It was Sinners – the religious folk who thought they could see but were really blind and had bought into the system of Sin and Power that puffed them up and threw everyone else out.

When we are called to forgive as Jesus forgives us – why don’t we do it? Why don’t we wipe the slate clean as if it never happened? Why don’t we let the relationship be restored? Don’t we want Jesus to wipe our slate clean? Don’t we want our relationship with God to be restored? How can we then withhold full forgiveness? Very few, if any, of our enemies have rejected, reviled, cursed, betrayed, denied and then prosecuted us for things we haven’t done. Very few, if any, of them have given us lashes like Jesus received, or had them press a crown of thorns on our head, or stripped us and hung us with nails onto a wooden cross to die. And, very few have reviled the sacrifices we made for them out of love. Very few have misrepresented us as vengeful when we have demonstrated the greatest love of all. Very few have made our name a curse word, or spat in our faces, or hated us like we have done to Christ. Christ received our punishment and our rejection. He placed himself in the place to become our victim, and we thought we were innocent.

We still think we are innocent – godly even. Are we really blind? Are we really unforgiving? We have labeled entire people groups as our enemies and refuse to forgive. Worse yet, we seek to destroy them and actively encourage our government to do so. Whether it’s Muslims in other nations, or gays here. We cheer when drones take out an “enemy” even if it costs innocent lives, because it’s worth it to us. We don’t care about those people who die. We don’t care about their families who grieve. We don’t care because they aren’t like us. They aren’t fully human. We owe them. We won’t forgive. Well, then how can we expect Jesus to forgive us?
We turn our backs on gays here because they are abominations, because they’re different and we think that God hates them. We refuse to let them in our churches without wearing the mark of shame. We refuse to include them in the kingdom, though we are far from it ourselves and do not see. We let them die alone thinking they have no one in the world that cares. We turn our faces as their hearts and souls agonize and they take their own lives, one by one. We may say we hate the sin but love the sinner, but our actions say otherwise. Besides, how much do we hate our own sin? Our own sins are things we even joke about in church right? They’re just harmless, funny little quirks and weaknesses, but we’re working on them (if you count thinking about them once in awhile and throwing up a quick prayer working).

Our sins are not so hideous are they? That’s what we think. It’s how we act. Jesus really didn’t have to die for us because we’re not so bad. And, those really bad people? Well, Jesus doesn’t love them and didn’t die for them because they don’t deserve it, right? There is no hope for anyone who isn’t in our club of sanitized sin and institutionalized, sanctified hate, right? Our anger and bitterness are allowed free reign and expression on the internet because it’s righteous anger, right? The Bible says it and that’s what we stand on, right?

The Bible also tells us to love our enemies, pray for those who persecute us, and to turn the other cheek. It tells us to forgive and to serve. It tells us to wash each other’s grimy feet. But, those parts God really didn’t mean, right? He only means the stuff about gay people, right? And, he REALLY means those few sentences more than the rest, we are sure of that.

What must Jesus be thinking of our church now? What must he be doing now? Is he weeping over us the way he wept over Jerusalem? Is he pointing a finger and calling us blind guides? Is he praying with blood streaming down that we would be one with Him even now?

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