Have you had any radical reactions or responses this week to your personal world? How about radical responses to the world around you? In the United States news, there has been what many would consider as radical behavior over the Supreme Court nomination. Can radical behavior, reactions, and or responses be good?
If you focus on the news it seems there is a constant sparring between opposing forces and that no one can simply agree to disagree. Their behavior seems more like the story that Rabbi David A. Nelson tells of two brothers who go to their rabbi to settle a longstanding feud. The rabbi convinced the two to reconcile their differences and shake hands. As they were about to leave, he asked each one to make a wish for the other in honor of the Jewish New Year. The first brother turned to the other and said, ”I wish you what you wish me.” At that, the second brother threw up his hands and said, ”See, Rabbi, he’s starting up again!” The only solution to this response must be one of radical nature. A radical overhaul or transformation of the existing framework. The nature of good prevailing over evil.
It is necessary for the world to see and experience goodness so that radical transformations come about. In the parable, Contexts, a holy man holds his morning meditation under a tree whose roots stretch out over the riverbank. During his meditation, the man notices that the river is rising, and a scorpion caught in the roots is about to drown. The man crawls out on the roots and reaches down to free the scorpion, but each time he does, the scorpion strikes back at him. An observer watching said to the holy man, ”Don’t you know that’s a scorpion, and it’s in the nature of a scorpion to want to sting?” To this, the holy man replies, ”That may well be, but it is my nature to save, and must I change my nature because the scorpion doesn’t change its nature? It is important that the world sees goodness prevail.
Likewise, Christ also refused to change His nature of goodness to the oppositions of the world. His actions and speech are ones of radical nature and He encourages us to follow His example. It takes a conscious effort to be kind to those that are against us. Christ teaches us that whether we agree with a position that a person takes or their values that we should treat them kindly and with respect. They may continue to act or say things that are opposing to our nature. But with the Holy Spirit helping us, we can treat the difficult people we encounter with the same rights and respect that we desire for ourselves, no matter what they may do or say. It is our mission to demonstrate the example of goodness by our actions and behaviors setting the radical example as Christ did for us.
When we become the radical example, we allow a forgiving spirit to demonstrate that we too received God’s forgiveness. When we are compassionate rather than critical, treating others generously and graciously we open the door for these qualities to return to us in full measure. To move beyond getting upset or angry over another person’s actions, belief’s, or speech we can go to God and ask Him to help us see them from His point.
By praying for Him to give us His feelings for others we can treat them with compassion and understanding, not to compromise our beliefs but to help them see Christ through our actions and reactions. We can ask Him to allow us to show the radical light of Christ no matter where we are, what we experience, or even how badly we may be treated. It is in this radical approach that we realize that it is more important to give justice and mercy than to receive it.
Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. Luke 6:28(NLT)
To love those who are difficult and treat them well is a lot easier to say than to do because it affects our fundamental nature to look out for ourselves. The whole concept of Jesus’ radical approach to life goes against our nature. Therefore, it is only possible to love those we struggle with if we give ourselves fully to God. It is only through His power that He can deliver us from our natural sinful selfishness.
The Power of the Holy Spirit
It is only by trusting the Holy Spirit to help us, that we can show love to those we don’t want to love. For it is only through this power that others can see Christ in our life by our actions, reactions, and ways. This radical approach to life changes our nature which will also radically change not just our life but the world around us.
Won’t you challenge yourself to allow the Holy Spirit to radically change your outlook to the difficult ideas and people that you come up against? Through your convictions allow your knowledge of Christ’s sacrifice and offer of full forgiveness for you to show through your actions, reactions, and ways of life to the world. Be motivated in remembering that God continues to send the sunlight and rain equally to both the just and the unjust, the good and the evil until the end of time. (Matthew 5:45b) Remember that until God declares it over there is no one too far out of reach to receive the light of God. Lastly, surround yourself in the comfort of knowing that God loves everyone equally and with His help, you can show the radical love of Christ to all.
Love in Christ,
Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?
What are Your Thoughts?
Do you have a radical approach to life? Have you attempted to respond to the world with the radical love of Christ? Share your thoughts and results of asking the Holy Spirit to help you radically approach others through His love so that the world around you can and will change.