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Saturday, February 14, 2015

Things Jesus Never Said

 After years of sticking my foot in my mouth, I am sort of an authority on saying stupid stuff.  Don`t worry, just because I am good at it doesn`t mean I am going to run for political office. To be honest, I`m not sure if I enjoy being on my high horse as much as I enjoy not sounding like a jackass. Opinionated comments often can`t be nailed down as right or wrong, but we can all agree their timing makes all the difference. The politically correct statements made by the President at the National Prayer Breakfast are a prime example of correctly inappropriate facts.  If you`re not aware of those comments you can watch this video. The President's facts were spot on.  However, if he was trying to communicate that we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, there might have been a less divisive way to say it. There's no solace, no healing, and no relevant solution for today's tragedies in nursing 1000 year old grievances. 
 Politicians don`t have a monopoly on saying stupid things. Well meaning Christians can sound dumb as a box of rocks. Here`s an example: Start off a dogmatic theological statement followed by a meme, "Things Jesus never said" in an attempt at sounding satirical. The one that set me off was, "Everybody's eyes closed, nobody looking around ... things Jesus never said". I think the "statement is probably true. As true as, what the President recently said, people, who called themselves Christians, "committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ". These memes and statements are more akin than you think, focusing on what Jesus did not teach rather than what he did. Both are true statements, but certainly not void of ambiguity. You are getting the truth but something`s missing. Sort of like the President quoting only partially Koran 5:32. and without referencing Koran 5:33 Here is a link to his speech in 2009Here's the rest of the story, the entire passage. Changes the whole context doesn't it? Where`s Paul Harvey when you need him? 
 Let me be clear, neither the President's statement or the meme communicates unity, regardless if born from ignorance or intentionally designed to cause division. I suppose you might learn something from what Jesus never said, and I'm quite certain, Jesus never said many things. He never said " fight and kill those who believe differently than you wherever you find them, take them captive, harass them, lie in wait and ambush them." No, Jesus never said that, but Muhammad did. Jesus said, "love your enemies." He promoted peace with the enemy but He never said the enemy is peaceful. Neither did he say bring up a twisted distortion of my teachings, to smooth over
ideologies so you can all get along.  Hey, I'll be the first to tell you we fail to love up to Christ's example. But how, could following the words and example of Muhammad be a twisted distortion of Islam ? Once, Muhammad slaughtered eight hundred or so men and took their wives and children for slaves. Muslims played a huge role in the beginning of the African slave trade. They did nothing to end it theologically. While it is correct to say, some Christians were using the bible to justify slavery, Christ followers were using the teachings of Christ to kill it . Lest we forget, slavery is still rampant in North Africa today. Many Muslims, haven`t failed, as we have, in following words of their prophet. To pretend these barbaric executions and modern day slavery are some distorted version of a peaceful religion, is ignorance, wishful thinking, or deception. In fact, the opposite is true. While there are certainly peaceful Muslims, they have simply ignored much of Muhammad's doctrine. If you think I'm beating up on Muslims, you'd be wrong. Sin is a global problem, defeated only by the love of Christ. I equate my own sins as mass murdering the entire planet. Real love means embracing the truth and isn't always pretty.  Once the way, the truth, and the life was naked, raw, and dying on a cross. That's the only reason He could love any of us. 
 Despite our past failures, some Christians are now concerned about what Jesus didn`t say, as if, we had mastered all that He said. Never mind, the bible tells us that there`s more to Jesus than what the book says about Him. Check out John 21:25. To the best of my knowledge, Jesus never said for us to fold our hands, bow our heads, or close our eyes to pray any prayer. Still, I'll bet the farm this guy making the meme "things Jesus never said" does them. As far as I know, He never said: Go build structures in my name. Never said churches need hymnals, Never said sing along to organ music. Never said look your best at church. I'm betting he's done these too. What you can't know, is if God has ever used these things to help communicate the Gospel to first time believers. Let's face it, God has used many unorthodox approaches in revealing Himself. It wasn't exactly theologians Christ picked to deliver the Good News. Whatever method, salvation is a commitment to Christ. It brings about true repentance, and life change. If a commitment to Christ is present,  there`s, no reason to condemn the methods of how they came about. Christians, dispite their differences, and past failures, now more than ever, need to come together and live up to the standard Jesus set. That means loving everyone. See how easy that was Mr. President?
Jesus said a lot of things for us to do. Tough things. Things you and I most likely will never live up to. We most certainly will not by sugar coating half truths. For sure He said, "... whoever is not against us is for us." Mark 9:39.  I hope we figure this out soon cause Jesus also said, "every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand." I figure the enemy's counting on this. There is no solid foundation in the words Jesus never spoke. Let us build our house on the things that He said. Just like He told us to.
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