Advent Reflection #12
Why is it that Christians can often be so critical and childish? Of course Christians can also be loving and kind as well. But still, why are Christians – people defined by the sacrificial love of Christ, and called to offer this same love to others – often anything but loving?
How often have you heard, “you think different, you look different, you act different, that’s not how we’ve always done this, this is my responsibility how dare you try to change something, or that’s not my responsibility I won’t be helping with that . . . ” I have certainly seen enough of this to last a lifetime. My life was been torn to pieces by a church because of such issues. Jesus seems to have been familiar with such behavior as well.
In the passage today he critiques the crowds, and his own people, Israel, in particular. “When John came you critiqued him for being too strict, because he barely ate or drank,” says Jesus. “And now, you critique me for eating and drinking too much, and with the wrong people.” Which one is it?! He goes on to describe the people as children playing games with one another in the marketplace.
I don’t know why Christians sometimes behave in such a way. It certainly isn’t in keeping with the Savior that we follow. But this is not behavior peculiar to Christians. It’s a tendency common to us all – Jew, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist or Atheist. All people struggle with such negative, judgmental, and divisive behavior. I would argue that it just looks worse for Christians because of the claims we make about ourselves and our Savior.
I don’t think it’s ironic, though, that Jesus describes the people as childlike. Remember, Jesus LOVES little children. In fact he officially encouraged us all to try to become like little children – with their faith, hope, and love. Perhaps, then, we are to embrace being little children, and with that embrace, accept the gentle rebuke of our Father in Heaven. Let’s stop looking at what we don’t agree with about each other, and stop judging one another, and instead, work on loving each other. Let us pay attention to the actual way of the Savior we follow, and then live into that way. Let us be different.
Come Lord Jesus