When we will actually change
Change doesn’t happen when you are comfortable. Humans just don’t change when they are comfortable. There is no natural incentive to change. There is no incentive to change when everything is going smoothly. There is only incentive to change when the pain of not changing exceeds the pain of change.
This is a truth that goes across topics, issues, politics, ideologies, theologies, and more. It runs through the human existence.
Take racism for example. Until white Americans are uncomfortable enough to deal with racism, we will continue to have problems in our culture. It is only in our uncomfortableness that change will happen. I just wonder what that looks like. Because right now I can’t imagine how painful it has to be considering how much effort and energy is put into maintaining the status quo. What would it look like for white America to be so uncomfortable that it deals with racism honestly? How painful would it have to feel? I don’t know. I’m guessing considerably more that it is right now.
Take violence. When will it be uncomfortable enough for us to deal with violence? When will it be uncomfortable enough for us to deal with gun violence? War? Verbal violence? Domestic violence? I just wonder what that looks like. Because right now I just can’t imagine how painful and how much violence needs to happen, and on what scale it needs to happen, for us to be honest about our addiction to violence. I don’t know. I’m guessing that it would have to be far worse than it is right now.
Take religion. When will we be uncomfortable enough to admit that we create idols to worship? Some of these idols are institutions — even religious institutions. Some are politicians — even high level politicians. Some are sports. Some idols revolve around money and the economy. Some are work and job related. Some are idols of being right. How badly do these idols need to let us down for us to face the reality that we have misplaced our faith and salvation in them? How uncomfortable does it have to get? Because right now I just can’t imagine how disappointed we need to be for us to be honest about this.
You can take any number of things and examine them like this.
And here’s another sad piece of news — this isn’t new. None of this is new. It’s been going on for a long time. There is nothing special about any of this. There’s nothing special about the racism that happens — there isn’t anything new about it either. There’s nothing special about the people who maintain the systems.
There’s nothing special about the violence that happens of the people who use violence as a way to have power over others. This isn’t new. There’s nothing special about these people.
There’s nothing special about the idols that we create. There’s nothing special about the people that we claim are our salvation either. There is nothing special about politicians or leaders who claim the mantle of salvation for their nation, party, ideology, church, or anything else.
That’s because it’s not anything new. It’s the same way humanity has been broken since the first sin. It’s become comfortable to be broken — individually, communally, nationally, etc. It’s comfortable to sit in our brokenness and distract ourselves from the brokenness that exists.
But to be a follower of Jesus means that Jesus gets in our face, and makes us uncomfortable. He doesn’t stop either. There’s no shooing him away. There’s no distracting yourself from Jesus. He just keeps coming back — asking uncomfortable questions. He gives us uncomfortable commands to follow. He forces us to be uncomfortable.
It’s not comfortable to be with the poor and outcast, but Jesus sends us to be with the poor and outcast.
It’s not comfortable to be with people who don’t look like or sound like ourselves, but Jesus sends us anyway.
It’s not comfortable to be peace in the midst of violence, but Jesus sends us anyway.
It’s not comfortable to love our enemies, but Jesus tells us to do it anyway.
It’s not only not comfortable — but dangerous. Jesus puts our life on the line in following him.
And that’s the thing. Jesus isn’t looking for comfortable followers, for luke-warm followers, for fair weather fans. He’s looking for committed people who are willing to go all the way. Who are willing to be uncomfortable. Who are willing to have their lives changed, to be out of control. To follow. To pick up our cross and follow.
Change only happens when we are uncomfortable. Jesus offers us to be uncomfortable so that change can happen. What is more important — comfort or Jesus. Which is the god/God we will worship and follow — comfort or Jesus?
Originally published at laceduplutheran.com on August 29, 2018.