Monday, May 2, 2011

Walk This Way

As I sat in silence asking God what He wanted from me next on this day, Steven Tyler's voice screamed (literally...it screamed) inside of my head.  Though "walk this way" were the words attached to the noise, it was Jesus I saw in my mind.  How odd, I thought to myself as I struggled to recall the entirety of the song's lyrics.  I had nothing.  I couldn't remember.  Only "walk this way" stayed in my mind so with that I went.  Shuffling back and forth between the words and Jesus' face, I realized that in life we're walking in one of two directions: towards Jesus or away from Him.  "Well, that's not true. There has to be a middle ground," the skeptic retorts.  No, I've lived on what I consider to be "middle ground" and guess what?  I was walking away.  If we're not walking to Him, we're walking away from Him.  In which direction are you walking today?  Or, do you even care?
First, if you don't care - you should.  Second, if you're walking away from Him, it's never too late to start walking towards Him.  At a time when the world is rejoicing over the alleged death of Bin Laden, I find myself quietly shrinking back from the euphoric victory dances and endless hand clapping.  I didn't dance or clap when I heard the news; I felt sorry for the soul that very possibly just entered Hell.  Am I wrong to not be ecstatic over his death? I wondered last night.  Am I not a good and patriotic American unless I share in the bashing of his life and celebration over his death? I somberly self-doubted.  I'm not ignorant of the facts that comprise his terrorizing life, yet I'm reminded of how Jesus, in His dying moments, pleaded to God for forgiveness over the very men who just finished nailing Him to the cross.  He neither condemned them to Hell nor found comfort in what they might suffer as a consequence of their murderous acts; He prayed that God have mercy on their soul.

Whether or not Bin Laden made peace with God before his final moments is known only by him and God, yet how black my own heart would be if I stomped on his grave and spit celebratory words over the bloodshed of another human being.  Did God not make him too?  Does another man's life lose it's value if he does evil in the sight of God and man?  Maybe so, but the value of a life is for God, alone, to determine - not me.  At what point in time, I wonder, did we start to believe we were modeling ourselves after Jesus when from our mouths hatred is spat and from our hearts, rejoicing over murder reigns?  Am I evil because I'm unable to rejoice at the death of an evil man?  If I laughed and sang, would I better fit in?  If so, your "in" isn't where I wish to fit.

Walking towards Jesus is one of the most difficult things we're asked to do when the masses are walking away, but if Jesus could pray on behalf of those who beat, spit on, and brutally killed Him, then can we not at least refrain from driving the nails further down into Bin Laden's coffin?  Might we even be so bold as to pray that God had mercy on his soul as he took his last dying breaths?  "I can't believe you're defending him after what he has done," you may gasp.  I'm not defending him, but who am I to deliver blows of judgment to his name and grave?  Does God not say that vengeance and judgment are His?   Because I've lived in a country where Bin Laden's attacks have stricken, do I now have the right to return hate for hate?  If someone murders my loved ones and dies a day later, would I be both justified and dignified in dancing on that person's grave?  I thank God that an evil threat to our country has presumably been removed, but I wont rejoice and celebrate over the bloodshed that had to take place to make it happen.  At the risk of becoming dramatically opposed, significantly less liked, and grossly criticized, I offer the challenge today to pray for those who terrorize, love those who hate, and in all things model our circumstantial responses after those of Jesus as He hung and died on the cross. When Jesus tells us to "walk this way," He's telling us to walk towards Him and not away from Him.  Ask yourself whether or not you're walking towards Him today.  If you don't know what it means to walk towards Him, look at whether your words and actions are rooted in love or hate.  Loving our country doesn't give us a free pass to hate those who try to destroy it.  

P.S. - If you've not seen The Passion of the Christ, I recommend watching it.  The scene in which He prayed for those who persecuted Him is without doubt something we should all see.

Proverbs 24:17-18
"Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when he stumbles do not let your heart rejoice, or the Lord will see and disapprove and turn His wrath away from him." 



Walk This Way song on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bKttENbsoyk

Image taken from www.examiner.com

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