Have you ever seen the pyramids in Egypt, aren’t they beautiful. Did you know that these pyramids were built on the backs of slaves and on the principle of oppression. Europeans forced African slaves to row large ships across the Atlantic Ocean exposing them to horrendous living conditions. When they reached the shores of this land they saw a people that looked like they were from India so they named them Indians. They were hostile towards Americans and we wanted their land so we killed millions of them. Our nation’s economy is built on the backs of immigrants and minorities as we pay them unfair wages and continue to treat them in an unfair way.
An we call our nation a “Christian” nation. We have cut and pasted our way to a gospel contrary to Christ’s gospel. The true gospel was very hard to swallow in Christ’s time because it revolutionized all the social norms. It called the disciples to turn the other cheek, to forgive, to bless their enemies; It called them to not store up for themselves treasures on earth, and to not worry about tomorrow.
But where have we gone wrong… What is the American Dream? And why has the Church swallowed it hook, line, and sinker? You see there are two ways to become successful you can serve money- stepping on every one else, pushing down the poor, and storing up riches. Or you can serve God- giving to those who ask of you, and praying for those who persecute you. You can either continue on the path of self exaltation at the cost of everyone around you. Or you can live life caring for others, giving to the poor, blessing the people in your world.
“You words sound like wisdom except for the chaffing in my heart.” Were the words of Frodo in Lord of the Rings. It sounds nice to have a successful career, a nice house, with a picket fence, But is it the “Christian life” your desiring to help make that happen or something different. You see Christ tells us to pick up the cross. The cross is not a turning away from what is bad and just accepting good, like the typical American family that doesn’t drink, smoke, or cuss. The Christian life is choosing to be a living sacrifice. It is choosing to walk in a manner not fleeing those who sin but dieing to self righteousness and loving the oppressed and misunderstood. Caring a cross means willfully giving up your own desires. Not just taking on the pain of trying to live a sinless life. What a sad and unattractive Gospel that Americans often offer one another… “live life without sex and beer, and you can be just like me.” That is a sad pointless Gospel. Martin Luther King Jr. didn’t choose to die for the sake of the pain, he saw that what God was calling him to meant that it might cost him his life but the reward far exceeded the price. MLK lived a life to free a lot of people from the deception of racism and lost his life in the process, but let me tell you he gave his life long before the assassin’s bullet entered his body.
That is the Gospel, Christ saw our forgivness as a possibility and He endured pain unthinkable so we could have life. And this is where we have to strive to live, everything in our culture says otherwise. Even most of what we see in the American Church is more of a interesting philosophy than of a self sacrificing revolution. You know what, there is nothing sexy about the cross, it can’t be dressed up, and it can’t be avoided.
I am writing to those who for some reason feel empty and out of place in there “walk” with God. I am posing a question that maybe you have accepted a Gospel that has been neutered of the point and the power. There is freedom in the cross and a security beyond comprehension. What can an enemy do to a person who willingly gives himself up…. nothing.
So take up your cross and feel the power that comes with laying down your life. Redeem those around you who are being oppressed. Love the unlovable because you are now not living for your own gain and success, but for the low and downtrodden. Share some of your money with a needy person who can’t make money like you can, and who doesn’t trust God like you do. Have you thought of that… we can give freely because we know where it comes from and that God will make sure that we don’t go in need.
If you keep it, it will eat you alive, but if you give it away your life will become heavenly.