Do you ever get so frustrated with the world that you just want to check out? I certainly do. For example, as a blogger who posts to both Facebook and on WordPress, for me it is a lot easier to keep up with WordPress, since I can choose to see only what I want to see. Facebook, on the other hand, exists to sell advertising and sometimes the best advertising is the kind that sparks emotion – even (or especially) bad emotions.
While Facebook is great for keeping up with friends and family, it recently started adding a ton of posts with statements like “The time is coming when good people will have to do bad things to very bad people,” along with other sarcastic, angry, and bitter political posts. After a few days they must have tweaked their method again, and most of these went away. Like many, I like to have my comfortable space where I’m in control, and I didn’t want to be on Facebook while knowing they were trying (and, sadly, succeeding) at manipulating my emotions. I started feeling sarcastic, angry, and bitter, which was by their design. Sometimes I ask myself why I am even there?
Some surprising advice comes in Philippians 2:6-8, where Paul writes about Jesus that, “though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” In times when I want to check out from the uncomfortable parts of living in this world, these verses remind me that Jesus, as God, might have taken an attitude of preferring to stay in a comfortable space where He could be in control, but instead He jumped into the mess that is this world we see every day to show the world what love is.
Another verse that calls this to mind is the familiar John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
When I’m struggling to face the world as I see it, I ask about 3:16, “Exactly which world did Jesus love enough to die for?” The answer is this one. The world He died for is the one where sex, anger, bitter tribalism, and political partisanship sells. The one with a lot of sarcastic, angry, and bitter people. The one with a lot of people who are more like us than we’d usually like to admit. The one where it’s easy for our love to grow cold if we focus on the problems, and not on the cross, where God took the punishment for all of it.
To be continued tomorrow…