We are not called to be John the Baptist.

We are not called to be John the Baptist, most of us. There was, after all, only one John.

But what he did was worth examining.

When he started preaching, he invited people to repent. To acknowledge that the way they were living their lives wasn’t working.

  • That looking at money for happiness,
  • That looking for power for happiness,
  • That looking at being really spiritual for happiness,
  • That looking at being better than other people for happiness,

simply was not working.

“Tell God that you agree with him that your choices aren’t working,” he says. That’s what confession is. Agreeing with God that our choices aren’t working.

And then repent, John says. Do different things. Go a different way. Make different choices in agreement with God.

Now. This isn’t about making God happier with us. Or more loving. It’s not so that God will be more likely to heal our bodies. Which is what we want in the hospital on any given day.

It is, however, about living more honestly, more justly.

As Paul says, loving each other. Accepting one another. Looking at each other the way that Jesus did. And does.

We often think that means being cranky with each other.

Telling each other that Jesus would be upset with that kind of behavior.

Forgetting completely that when Jesus picked up where John left off, he said things like, “you have heard it said ‘love your friends and hate your enemies.’ But I say love your enemies, too.”

Although, let’s be honest. We often hate our enemies and then hate our friends, too.

Paul’s direction is to start where God starts.

By coming for us. Not to condemn us, but to reconcile us. To die for us. To offer us forgiveness and the power to repent.

And then, rather than focusing again and again at what we did and do wrong, live better. Love better. Live. Love.