I haven’t always been this way.
There was a time in my life when I believed everything I was told. I listened, obeyed and followed all the “rules”.
There was a time when I believed that your problems were just that, YOUR problems…and to think that they were somehow the result of corrupt systems was just an exercise in scapegoating. There was a time when I believed having one black kid in my high school (not 20 miles from Boston) was normal. There was a time when I believed that color-blindness was the best approach to take when talking about people who are not white.
There was a time when I believed in the power of violence to achieve and preserve freedom.
There was a time when I thought Jesus came to forgive me for lying and swearing, leaving me paralyzed in fear of God’s wrath….at the same time never losing sleep over someone else’s suffering.
…..That was a time when I did not know anyone living in third-world poverty. That was a time when I had not listened to or been in relationship with people from the “inner city.” That was a time when I did not have friends who sleep in the woods.
But that time has come and gone.
At some point, I was confronted with a Messiah who suffered. I was confronted with a Messiah who called me to follow his Way, not just “accept him into my heart”. I was confronted with a Messiah who never gave me an excuse for holding onto power.
I have met Jesus in the faces of lonely, poor and oppressed people. They have helped me understand my privilege, yet have not cast me aside. The have caused the Scriptures come alive for me.
I know I’ve been written off by some who once called me “friend”. I’ve been called a heretic, a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and a prophet for the “social gospel”.
But I know who I am. And I know the One who is forming me in this way.
I lament friendships lost, but I do not lament comfort lost.
I am who I am today because I have faith in a God who chose suffering over comfort.
No, I haven’t always been this way…but I don’t ever want to go back.