Are You More Idealistic Than God?

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Recently, in pastoral ministry with Jesus, I was placed in the unenviable position of having to choose between the lesser of two evils in addressing a real life and troubling situation! Yikes! Talk about struggling with what to do! I began to pray and write out my options, desperately trying to find a potentially better 3rd option, but it was not to be.

After thinking carefully and much, and talking with another close friend in ministry about my dilemma, it seemed clear that, the case being the case, I would have to choose the lesser evil and “sin boldly”, as Martin Luther, the Reformer, might have said. I must admit that after talking with God, Father, Son and Spirit in prayer, and carefully thinking about the entire situation, I actually had peace and confidence about acting on the lesser evil even though, of course, it was not “ideal”. Long story short, everything worked out better than I could have hoped. I mean!!!

Of course I was delighted last week when a fellow pastor of mine told the story in his sermon about a priest who chose between the lesser of two evils and the result was a miraculous and positively transformed life at the other end of his action. Then, to top it off, I was watching the television series “Luther” last week and heard this dialogue before my very ears:

Friend to Luther: “You know that what you did wasn’t right, don’t you?”

Luther: “Yes.”

Friend to Luther: “Then why did you do what was wrong?”

Luther: “Because it was the right thing to do!”

Hahahaha…Wow! Powerful! The writers of that show seem to know something about living in situations that aren’t always ideal. The thing is, I believe that anyone who watched that episode in its context would most naturally believe that the “wrong” thing was the “right” thing to do in that situation and resulted in real lesser evil.

“Wow! Jesus, you sure are funny and comforting! Thanks!” I thought to myself after wrestling with my difficulty and then having these quick follow ups come to my attention over the next couple weeks.

It all has me thinking a little differently about what may be going on with you and me in our present mission, sufferings and trials with Jesus. You see, I have been tempted to think, in most cases (and because of my legalistic, rule-based, “bible-primarily-as-an-instruction-book” religious background!) that “Gawd!” is all about the exact right and ideal choices, every time. And when you and I don’t always make the exact right choices at the exact right time about these all important rules, “Gawd!” makes us pay for those lesser and greater evils by rubbing our noses in the bad consequences, or simply ignores and/or punishes us until we learn to do EXACTLY what Jesus would do!

Can you relate with that kind of “idealistic” thinking? “Idealistic” meaning that it supposedly has the best chance of resulting in and motivating us to do what looks exactly right according to the rules?

But what if the God Revealed in Jesus Christ to be the fullness of God, Father, Son and Spirit, in flesh, is God? And what if that Relational God, in the fallen flesh of Jesus, has experienced every thing we experience, including things like temptation, loud crying and tears, broken family relationships, the betrayal of friends, loneliness, the rejection of His Good News, great suffering and even death, like the scriptures say He has?!

Not the most idealistic action on God’s part, huh?

And yet, that realistic act of God, Father, Son and Spirit in Jesus, wrestling with and through our sin and blindness in our broken humanity (versus idealism), was just the right thing to do, in God’s opinion, even though it was oh so WRONG! The result was humanity’s adoption as sons and daughters into the love, life and relationship of God the Holy Trinity! The result was our being saved from sin, death, hell and the grave and becoming partakers of the divine nature! Shewowsa!

Are you more idealistic than God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit? hmmmmmm….Even God Himself did not (could not?!) redeem us without sitting where we sat (even though He did not sin, of course!)

Because God is the Social God of Grace, including Humanity in His Dance, Dream and Mission, He is NOT the solitary god of toxic waste (as my friend Baxter Kruger might say!). He is more interested in people than He is in a set of abstract rules, therefore:

  • Maybe you are suffering perplexity about everything, including God, so that Father can get rid of your idealism and prepare you for more participation in His REAL down and dirty ministry in this present evil age?
  • Maybe you need to face and carry the dilemmas and dark secrets that people who don’t know of the God revealed in Jesus have to face and carry, so that you will not be arrogant but REALLY understand where they’re coming from and love them with REAL compassion, not just something that looks like compassion?
  • Maybe you are experiencing a mess in your close relationships after many years of “peace” because you have been so sheltered in a religious and “ideal” culture you weren’t appreciative or aware of what people “on the street” are really going through in theirs, and you’re being made ready to serve and be FOR them?
  • Maybe God the Holy Spirit is distressing your view of the scriptures because you are beating others up with “the rule book of standards and weights” in your efforts to get them on the ideal track, and not loving and understanding them where they are, so you can join Him in mission right in the middle of their doubting faith too?
  • Maybe you are unaware that you are still so solitary and self-centered, you even unconsciously think you stand apart and above the others “out there”, and God is allowing you to be blindsided just like your brothers and sisters in this troubling world are, so you can IDENTIFY AND RELATE WITH THEM AS YOU POINT THEM TO GOD IN YOUR MESS, TOO, IN HIS GRACE?

Hmmmmmmm….just another Christ-centered perspective to chew on about your life and considering the fact that GOD, FATHER, SON AND SPIRIT REFUSES TO BE ON MISSION AND LOVE OTHERS WITHOUT YOU (again, NOT the choice of an idealist huh?…heehee…), in this present age!

– Timothy J. Brassell

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