If Jesus Had A Press Conference

If Jesus Had A Press Conference

How the Lord would tell us to handle today's frenzy of media overload and staunch opinions.
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In light of recent events there have been countless opinions, some of which being my own, floating around the internet, the news, and even in casual conversations. Everyone is interested in sharing the way that a certain incident makes them feel, and even more interested at proposing a solution, in their minds the only solution, to the many pressing problems of society. I’m not going to lie, it becomes difficult to keep up with which opinion you agree with the most and which solution you feel is the most fair and appropriate.

I’ve found that from day-to-day I often waver on my views of certain issues, and depending on the mood you catch me in when you strike up conversation, the response you’ll get from me could be vastly right or left winged. I find myself overwhelmed at times, I never know how to write in responses to certain current events because I know how unsure I am of how they make me feel.

The other day while brainstorming I had a thought that has just stuck with me: I’m not supposed to know how to specifically feel about all of these issues, because there is a man who has laid out the basis for every issue this world will face. That man is Jesus, and while I’d hate to pretend that I was worthy enough to speak on his behalf, I do believe I know how his press conference to the world and our country would go right now. It would more than likely be boiled down to these four major points:

1. Mark 30:31- Love your neighbor as yourself. {NIV}

2. Luke 6:31- So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you {NIV};

3. James 1:22-25- Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear! Those who hear and don’t act are like those who glance in the mirror, walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are, what they look like. But whoever catches a glimpse of the revealed counsel of God—the free life!—even out of the corner of his eye, and sticks with it, is no distracted scatterbrain but a man or woman of action. That person will find delight and affirmation in the action. (MS)

4. Jude 1:22-23- Go easy on those who hesitate in the faith. Go after those who take the wrong way. Be tender with sinners, but not soft on sin. The sin itself stinks to high heaven.

So, what do those points mean exactly? Well the first two are simple statements we’ve been hearing forever, kind of like "an apple a day keeps the doctor away." They have become so cliche that their meaning is lost and, like eating healthy sometimes is, have been forgotten to be done.

In His first bullet, Jesus would remind us to love others as we love ourselves. Love your neighbor as you love yourself. That statement is mind-blowing. How do you actually love someone like you love yourself? Because in ways, even the most selfless heart instinctively loves itself first, and many of the things we do everyday can be blamed on our love for ourselves. Jesus wants us to take all the longings we have for our own happiness, success and safety and project them onto our neighbor (spoiler alert: this perk is not limited to just the lucky souls living next door). This concept was so insanely impossible to me that I had to do some searching on how I think Jesus would tell us to carry out this commandment.

My biggest help came from a message by John Piper off of the website Desiring God. The love and relationship you have with God is intimate. It is “an internal passion of the soul” and it is not visible to the eyes around you- except for in the witnessed actions of you doing good to others. Loving others is the outward expression and demonstration of your love for God. We are to practically and sacrificially show our love for the Lord by showing love to others. This is where Jesus would bring in his second point, because the most straightforward way of loving others is to treat them as you would like to be treated. Makes it a lot less mind-blowing, huh?

You take all of the things in this world that bring you joy and peace and you go out of your way to give them to someone else. You analyze situations and respond in a way that you would want to be responded to. It’s simple. It’s smiling at the cashier because you know that you could use someone smiling at you. It’s being honest, respectful, and considerate; all virtues we would hope to be bestowed on us once in awhile. It’s having the grace and willingness to do for others want you know could possibly not be returned to you. It’s showing the love of Christ to people and it could be the cornerstone of the way we as a society treat each other- and it’s easy.

So now that He has reminded us of things we learned as children, and seemingly haven’t practiced since then, Jesus moves to the meat of his message. Jesus would pull from James something along the lines of “don’t pretend you are a listener when you clearly aren’t and you should act on what you hear." This is on Jesus’ agenda mostly because of the lack of discipline we have when it comes to holding the Word dear to our hearts, but I also think in part because of our lost concept of the term action. We are so eager to voice our own opinion, or “hear” the opinion of others, but we are so quick to forget what they’re saying or what we’re even fighting for.

We’re unwilling to change our minds about anything and easily distracted by the next news story. Everyone is picketing for some form of change, but no one is actually willing to change themselves and I think that’s something Jesus would have us focus on. He wants us to first read the Bible for direction, catch the counsel of God and stick with it, and then he wants us to cut out our distractions. I love The Message version of this because it uses the word “scatterbrain," a word that I find can usually describe my mental state at any point in time. I jump from idea to idea and I have a hard time sticking to what I know, and I interpret this verse as Jesus reminding me to slow down and listen- then act on what I’ve heard. Not to walk up to a mirror only to walk away and forget what I look like (pretty positive I’ve done this before). We need to entertain the idea of new solutions, we need to entertain the word of God, but we can’t waste our time on ideas and concepts that we aren’t willing to work on. We need to be men and women of action, and find delight in doing what we say.

Finally, Jesus would leave us on one last kick-in-the-stomach line that a vast majority of the Christian nation likes to forget is mentioned (although not verbatim I’m aware) in the bible- to love the sinner and hate the sin.

I won’t claim to be as well versed in the ways of the world to understand just how hard, and sometimes dangerous, it is to love the sinner and stop there. I do know it is hard to deplore something someone does but love them regardless. I think the most simple way to spin it is to compare it to the way Jesus loves us. When we think of this term in radical situations like hating adultery but still loving someone who has committed adulterous acts it seems hypocritical. The line of hypocrisy gets even blurrier when we try to fathom the idea that someone can believe homosexuality is wrong, but also respect a person’s right to chose and love them despite their choices. Yet, Jesus sees all sin.

We all have sins of our own that are of equal weight in the Lord’s eyes, and he loves us regardless. When our faith is wavering he loves us regardless. When we make mistakes he loves us regardless. He absolutely hates what we are doing, and he makes it clear throughout the bible how much he disapproves, but he also loves us. So I think in the midst of all the judgmental hate going around today, Jesus would tell us to go easy on those hesitating in their faith. He would tell us to go easy on those that live lifestyles differently than us. I don’t think he would tell us to just conform to their ways or to not try to share the message with them, but he would tell us to rest up on the harsh words, hasty generalizations, and the misunderstanding.

So there it is, Jesus’ 2,000 word count public speaking assignment. I don’t know if he’d finish with a monsoon of falling balloons or if he’d just drop the mic and evaporate back up to the Heavens, but I do know he would have expected us to take Him seriously. I do know that if we would’ve listened to what the book He turned to for advice and his biography had said in the first place, we probably wouldn’t need Him to take us to the woodshed so often. I know that whenever I can’t decide the stance I should take on a current event that I can look back to this and surely find my answer. Because at the end of the day, the only side I truly care to be on is His.

Cover Image Credit: https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4151/5035177160_c1fb41c351_b.jpg

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12 Bible Verses For Faith In Hard Times

Remind yourself that God is always with you.
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Lately, I have felt lost at what God wants for my life. Ever since I've come back to UWG everything has been horrible. It seems that I can't catch a break. I'm trying my best to focus on school, work, and extracurricular activities. But it's hard when I'm having issues with my apartment/roommates and knowing my family back home is struggling and needs many prayers. All, I keep thinking is maybe Carrollton isn't where I belong anymore. I've asked God if He can guide me in the right direction. Below, I have found Bible verses that have helped get me through these rough, past couple of weeks.

1. Isaiah 43:2

"When you go through deep waters, I will be with you."

2. Psalm 37:5

"Commit your way to the Lord. Trust in Him, and He will act."

3. Romans 8:18

"The pain that you've been feeling, can't compare to the joy that's coming."

4. Proverbs 31:25

"She is clothed in strength, and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future."

5. Joshua 1:9

"Be bold. Be brave. Be courageous."

6. Ecclesiastes 3:1

"There is a time for everything and a reason for every activity under the heavens."

7. Isaiah 41:10

"Don't be afraid, for I am with you. Don't be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand."

8. Isaiah 66:9

"I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born, says the Lord."

9. Psalm 91:4

"He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings, you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart."

10. Psalm 62:1-2

"My soul finds rest in God alone, my salvation comes from Him, He alone is my rock and my salvation."

11. Philippians 4:13

"I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength."

12. Jeremiah 29:11

"For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Cover Image Credit: pixabay.com

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Since When Did Having Your Life Figured Out Become An Expectation?

There's no timeline for life, and there shouldn't be.

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Let's just cut to the chase. There shouldn't be an expected timeline of life that us, as humans, should be expected to follow. There isn't a certain age that we should be married by, or a time slot that we have to graduate in. It's just unrealistic because, well, life happens. And the majority of the time, we can't control it.

So then why does society pressure us into this schedule that seems to be looming over our heads? There's no consequence to not having children by 27, there's nothing wrong with having a steady significant other and not being engaged by 24. And really, nothing horrible is going to happen if your timeline doesn't match up with your best friend's.

A whole lot of things in life are out of our control. We don't know when we're going to meet "the one", or even if we already have. We don't know what job we will have after graduation, or if it will be a job we stay in for years to come. And guess what: it's okay. Because we have time.

One of the best lessons I have learned in my life is that we cannot control everything in our lives. We can't predict the future. Yes, you can feel as though you have your whole life planned out, but in the blink of an eye, everything can change. So moral of the story, don't stress about things that you can't control. Because all the time you spend stressing about them, is time that you could have spent enjoying the moment that you are in.

There's not a fairy that is going to come down and curse you for not having a job by 23, or forbid you from finding love because you haven't found it by 25. It's an unrealistic expectation. And guess what: life happens on its own, and we can't control all of it. Sometimes it may suck, and it can be entirely unexpected, but it's life. So put an anchor in the present, and have faith that you will figure it out.

Because you will.

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