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Disattending To Who Men Are

Jesus didn’t really pay any attention to men. Don’t get me wrong, he gave people a lot of attention and ascribed to them the infinite worth they have as people. And He loved them deeply. But, Christ dealt with a lot of people – many of those who had a lot of power, influence, and communal respect – without in any way being influenced by the pressure that often comes from dealing with people.

Ever felt that pressure? I sure do. It looks like a lot of different things in my variegated life. Sometimes I feel like I need to say certain things in a certain way to avoid ostracism. Other times I’m talking to someone who is, in some way, really important, so I’m more careful about what I say and I converse in such a way as to impress. Still, at other times, I feel like to accrue love I’ve got to act within self-constructed confines that I believe others put me in. No matter what caving into the felt (real or not) pressure looks like, it always chains me and limits me.

Back to Jesus (I pronounced it “Hey Zeus” that time). I read about the nature of the environments Jesus was in and the people he was around and ascertain that he probably faced a lot of the same pressures I face, and under which, I falter. He’s stood the easy test of being in situations with excessive drinking and not sinning, but some of the others are impressive. At age 30 Christ stood against, in acts and words of blatant subversive deracination, the most exalted men of his culture, lightly shouldering their disapproval. Hundreds who literally followed Jesus, who He called friends, abandoned Him because of His unyielding theology, opting for more meretricious doctrines. One of his best friends tried to get Jesus to take an easier route, Jesus unflinchingly called him Satan. The people He grew up with and knew for His entire life disbelieved what Jesus said of Himself and what He was capable of; Jesus never attenuated a single statement or went into a high-energy unmitigated pursuit to prove them wrong. Over and over again in Scripture, there is Christ immovable in the face of intense people pressures. And, it doesn’t even seem difficult for Him… it looks like a light yolk He’s under.

And it is. One reason that Jesus is so much better at loving people than I am is that He is free from any sort of explicit or implicit social, cultural, religious, and relational pressures that I too often succumb to. Jesus was able to be around the broken, battered, and sinful without concern for risking his reputation. He could defend the culturally repugnant sinners against the esteemed judgmental Pharisees. Jesus spoke truth passionately, insouciantly, audaciously. And in the end, His freedom from people pressures enabled Him to endure the unequivocal shame of the cross – despised by those who once praised Him, denied and deserted by His closest friends, and betrayed by the very people He came to save.

So, I see this freedom and how essential it is to truly living life in Christ, a child of God in the Kingdom of heaven, but man, it’s difficult. I’ve been held back from living the Christ-infused, God-glorifying life I’ve been called to because of this difficulty. Too often I refrain from having that difficult conversation with someone close to me. Too often I circumlocute amongst those who have an aversion to Christianity, and my faith remains undiscovered. Too often I quickly catalyze a transient permutation of my character to in some way acquire rapport. Too often I care who people are, what they think, and how that will negatively or positively affect me in the environment I’m in. Too often, too often.

And, honestly, I’m not quite sure what is behind this messed up way of living I find myself in far too frequently. It’s a conglomeration of reasons methinks, some probably pretty good and some probably pretty bad. There’s probably some fear in there, likely some pride, and I think also a passion to maintain a strong witness and to fame the name of Jesus. Doesn’t really matter why so much though, does it? What matter is that I’m not being like Jesus – supremely confident in who God is and who He is in relation to God. Never shrinking back, holding back, or moving back, but ever boldly pressing forward, bringing the Kingdom of God with Him. May I, standing firmly upon my Rock, live freely, and thus, live valiantly.

They came to him and said, “Teacher, we know you are a man of integrity. You aren’t swayed by men, because you pay no attention to who they are; but you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth.” -Mk 12:14

Categories: Miscellaneous
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