Not so simple

My friend Rich Dixon is helping me out here, with posts that come just at the right time and just with the right challenge for me. Yesterday, he talked about following Jesus. Today, he digs deeper into what that might mean.

I spend a lot of my time doing stuff about human trafficking.

Ride bikes. Write blogs. Increase awareness. Raise money to support 22 kids rescued from a brothel. It’s great work, and it’s actually pretty straightforward. They’re little kids whose moms are sexual slaves, and that would have been their fate as well. “Helping sexually abused children” is an easy cause for which to advocate.

Scripture tells us to seek justice. In kingdom terms, justice = setting things right. For our 22 kids, that means hope, freedom, education, opportunity.

Human trafficking is about as straightforward, about as white hat/black hat, as it gets.

+ + +

But – I’m learning there’s nothing straightforward about following Jesus. Because you know those traffickers, those evil, horrible bad people who do this to children? I’m supposed to love them, forgive them, and pray for them. I’m supposed to see in them the image of God.

I don’t know how to do that. I want them to rot and suffer in a deep, dark dungeon. I want God to give them what they deserve.

But, wait. What happens if I stop pretending some sins are better than others? What if I get what I deserve? What if my sin isn’t forgiven?

Jesus asks me to remove the 2×4 from my own eye before fussing with evil, horrible speck in another’s eye.

There’s nothing straightforward about following Jesus.

He says outrageous things. Love your enemy. Pray for those who persecute you. Turn the other cheek.

Those aren’t normal reactions. Doing that stuff requires sacrifice, and doing things that might be uncomfortable and unpopular. He talked about that, too.

Standing with the oppressed, advocating for justice, peacefully opposing abuse – He did that, and paid a price, and said, “Follow me.”

There’s nothing straightforward about following Jesus.