I’m been very disturbed the last few years by the types of posts I’ve seen on social media coming from Christians. Full of lies and hatred, they divide Christians from one another and paint those who disagree as monsters.
Jesus famously said, “If anyone wants to become my follower, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of me and because of the gospel will save it. For what benefit is it for a person to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his life?” (Mark 8:34-36).
In context Peter has just suggested that Jesus shouldn’t die, and Jesus has spoken to Peter, telling Satan to begone. Then Jesus contrasted gaining the world with losing your soul.
I’m not talking here about losing our souls in eternity, but I’m applying the principle to destroying our souls in the process of fighting perceived enemies.
Jesus’ words warn us that Christ followers can’t have it all. We can’t seek self-protection and gain in the world’s system and also live the cruciform life. We can’t follow Jesus who cares about the poor, marginalized and homeless people of this world and be more concerned about ourselves than our neighbors. When we act like those who reject Jesus to gain the world, our words and work may result in gaining temporary gain of power or protection, but they don’t reflect the God we serve.
There are probably hundreds of stories based on this theme of losing your soul. (Star Wars comes to mind.) The plot involves the question as to whether the hero will become like his enemy and lose his own heart in the process.
That’s a question we all need to ask ourselves. Have we become like those who oppose us to gain the world?
Being like Christ means not retaliating in ways that dishonor God but trusting Him enough to speak and live as Jesus did, leaving the results to our heavenly sovereign Father.
Finally, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, affectionate, compassionate, and humble. Do not return evil for evil or insult for insult, but instead bless others because you were called to inherit a blessing. For
the one who wants to love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from uttering deceit.
And he must turn away from evil and do good;
he must seek peace and pursue it.
For the eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous and his ears are open to their prayer.
But the Lord’s face is against those who do evil (I Peter 3:8-12).