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.

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

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I Could Brag, But Why Should I?

Being humble instead of a handful.

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When it comes to the opportunities that have been presented to me, I have always been someone who prefers to remain levelheaded and grateful. I have never been the type of person to take things for granted, because I always knew that nothing is guaranteed to me, or to anyone, and nothing is permanent. This can, in part, be attributed to growing up part of a family that had been affected by cancer.

I have been able to remain humble, and I am, quite frankly, really proud of myself for that.

I have crossed paths with many people throughout my life who grew up in a manner that one might refer to as privileged or spoiled. Some of these people really showed it. I cannot speak for all of them, and it would be wrong to do so, because this generalization is one that feeds into negativity. However, I can fairly say that I have spent time with people who grew up in a world where all they knew was getting what they wanted, and honestly, I don't envy this.

When I was young, I dreamed of having a life where everything goes right. I think all of us have dreams like this at some point.

But as time went on, I began to realize, just like anyone, that life just simply doesn't work this way. Or at least, not for most of us. And you know what? That's okay. Actually, that's great. I think it's better that way.

The struggles and strife are what keep us appreciative of the other end of the spectrum. Without the bad, how do we learn to appreciate the good?

I could sit here and tell you I've been through a lot.

I could sit here and write all of the sob stories, the heartbreaks, the grief, the losses, the undeserved backstabs. I could ask for your pity, or your sympathy. But I won't, because that's not the point.

All of us have been through some sh*t, when it comes down to it. But what is telling is how we come out on the other side. Whether we allow those experiences to harden us and turn us into stone, or whether we take those experiences, let them shape our outlook, and use them as tools to grow into softer, wiser, more humble human beings, especially when we find ourselves in a time where things begin to go right for us.

I like to think I am the latter.

Right now, I find myself living the best life that I have thus far, and to be painfully honest here, I could brag. If I wanted to, I could brag about my wonderful friends and the incredible people I have in my life, whether they have been around for a while or only just joined the crew. I could brag about being able to follow my heart in New York City, which is home to my college campus and my dream summer internship. I could go on about the people I get to meet, the things I do, the places I go.

But what's the point? Why should I brag? To establish some bizarre feeling of superiority? To put myself on a pedestal? To use what the universe has brought me as a means of making others feel worse or inferior?

Why the hell would I want to do that? Why would anyone?

In times where we find our hearts happy and our lives fulfilled, sure, it can be easy to fall into a mindset that leads you to believe you are "better than". The real test is fighting this.

I can't say I have never given in and allowed myself to adopt that feeling. I don't really think any of us can sit here and pretend we have never ever acted superior, or felt it. We are human, after all.

But I don't think it is right to allow that feeling to take over, and I don't ever want to let that happen.

When that feeling takes over, we lose our graciousness. Our gratefulness. Our humbleness and humanity. We lose the things that make us, down to our cores, human.

I don't know about you, but that doesn't sound so good to me.

So, I will continue my daily commute thanking the universe for allowing me to have that. Even when the train is delayed, or the PATH train is crowded, or the tour groups take over the city sidewalks. I will continue to sit at my desk on days when work is slow and I will thank the universe for even giving me that desk, or that work.

I will continue to thank the universe for everything it brings me, because why shouldn't I?

Why shouldn't we all?

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