I love a challenge. I thirst for the moments where I am outside of my comfort zone. The moments where I stop merely edging the walls of my comfort zones and instead climb over them. The moments where I scale walls and jump with gusto into a land I’ve never been to before.
In a sentence: Complacency has filled the spots where gusto once resided.
Today I was introduced to a man named Shane Claiborne. Shane is an activist and a radical; a man with strong opinions about politics, humanitarianism, and Jesus. He started a non-profit called The Simple Way, which (in a nutshell) primarily focuses on two things: loving people the way Jesus did and creating a community. On The Simple Way’s website, there’s a section on practical things one can do, the “50 Ways to Become the Answer to Our Prayers.” (refer to “the list.” on the navigational bar.)
As I read the list, I slowly grew more and more uncomfortable. Give your winter coat to someone who is colder than you. Go fuel free for one week. Eat only a bowl of rice a day for a week to remember those who do that for most of their life. Become a pen-pal with someone in prison.
The correct answer is: “YES!” Because YES! that was how Jesus lived. He wasn’t born into royalty and he certainly didn’t seek out their company as he grew up. He lived amongst brokenness: he dined with tax collectors and was in the presence of prostitutes and when all was said and done, he turned to the religious elite and said, “The tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the Kingdom ahead of you.”
Jesus LOVES, with no regards to race, creed, or gender. He loves the people we rush past as they humble themselves in order to ask for our spare change. He loves the woman who makes ends meet between the sheets. He loves the man who beats his wife black and blue. He loves suicide bombers, child molesters, racists, rapists, and you and I.
We are a broken people, my friends: Equally condemned and equally redeemed.
…does that make you uncomfortable? Does it make you uncomfortable to be lumped into the same group as these “monsters”? Do you disagree? Are you offended? Are you insulted?
It makes me uncomfortable, too. In fact, so uncomfortable that I’ve decided to once again travel to foreign lands: those that are right in front of me. There are fifty things on that list. There are fifty-two weeks in a year. (Do you see what I’m going with this?)
For the next year, I plan to tackle the list, one by one. Some will (for obvious reasons) be removed. Some will be revised. Some will be added. Most will remain as they are. The goal isn’t to “complete” the list in its entirety, but rather to challenge my heart to BREAK for what breaks God’s heart. To LOVE people that society has deemed unlovable. To OPEN MY EYES to things I’ve never seen before, to get really, really uncomfortable.
…oh boy, what have I gotten myself into?