Earthdate: 20160310 — These are the ramblings of one traveler’s journey on earth as he makes his way toward a heavenly home.
Some pages of life are more difficult than others to stand tall and faithfully represent true freedom that is found in Christ. We want freedom, but we’re not so sure we want others to have it — at least that’s the way we act. Today began with the usual work of cleaning and building prep before spending some time catching up on missions correspondence and re-doing the Impact Prayer Ministry bulletin board at church. As I worked on writing another week’s worth of daily devotions for the current series I am working on, I realized I was tired. Not a sleepy-lack-of-sleep kind of tired, but a weariness of wondering about the paradox of humanity. It was probably fitting that the focus of the daily devotions I worked at writing today was on serving with faith.
As I observe leadership at all levels including church, business, ministry, and political, I’ve reached the conclusion that despite all the anti-bullying rhetoric that is promoted in our culture, we actually like bullies as long as we’re not the one being bullied. We use different words because we’ve made bully sound as bad as it is, but we like the take charge do whatever it takes to succeed attitude to exist in those who lead. We want results and we’ve bought into the lie that it doesn’t matter how we get them. We turn a blind eye to the strong-arm tactics of those who lead because we like what they offer. By the time we realize that we too are being strong-armed, it’s too late and no one is left to object.
This isn’t a new problem by any stretch of the imagination. The crowds in the days of Jesus wanted to make Him king by force — not because they valued His humility and service, but because they believed He had the power to give them food, or freedom from Rome, or whatever else their minds could imagine. If Jesus would just use His power and ability for their good. If He would just be the ultimate bully and force submission of all the enemies of the Jewish people then the crowds would have continued to hail Him. Instead, their shouts of “hosanna” turned to screams of “crucify Him” in just a few short days. The crowds wanted a “bully” who would be on their side but Jesus wanted disciples who would be on His side. In spite of the intense pressure to do otherwise, Jesus remained steadfast in His determination to “humble himself and become obedient to death — even death on a cross”.
There are no easy answers, but the choices haven’t changed in over 2000 years. Do we seek someone to be our “bully champion” who will get us everything we want, or do we seek a path of humble submission that calls us to serve even those we consider least? I pray that you and I would reject the temptations to exalt those who lead by force of any kind. I pray that we would oppose all forms of intimidation and bullying even when they are done in ways that benefit us. I pray that we would repent of the “bullying” we have done to get our way — especially when we’ve cloaked it in the guise of doing “God’s will”. I pray that we would not only live in the true freedom we have in Christ, but that we would not restrict the freedom in Christ that others also have. May we truly live to serve one another in ways that consider their needs above our own.