Humility, healing, and how Jesus broke the rules
The other day, I posted something I was excited about and saw a little DM pop up on Instagram. I opened it and was surprised it wasn't encouraging, uplifting or kind. Instead it was a sharp rebuke from a stranger telling me what I posted was wrong.
I didn't respond to the message but thought about it for days, and it wasn't the first message I've gotten like this. In the social media world especially, I've noticed people are quick to send messages "calling out" other people, especially Christian content creators.
But here's the thing: I'm not afraid to be wrong. I'm not afraid to fail.
Sharing my words is a vulnerable thing, sharing your heart or your process is a vulnerable thing. Being a writer is a vulnerable thing, and even something as simple as an Instagram story or post can feel vulnerable to click "post" on.
Even if you aren't a content creator, you likely share some parts of your life online, and you share about your beliefs in the way you speak or how you live your life.
And you're going to get it wrong sometimes, we all are.
But that doesn't mean you shouldn't share. You are going to fail while trying to follow Jesus, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't try.
In the messages I've gotten that have been unkind and corrective, I've noticed a common theme. They are all coming from people who don't know me or walk with me regularly, and they all assume that there's a divide.
They know what is right and true, and I'm on the other side of the divide, sitting in my naivety and lack of enlightenment.
And this divide we create as Christians is what makes Christianity seem so unappealing to unbelievers. We look a lot like the world; divided, arguing and lacking love and compassion, instead of looking like Jesus.
As I've grown in my faith, I've become more and more certain about the things that really, really matter, and less and less certain about the others. I've become more open and receptive to new teaching, new styles, and different understandings, because I've realized that my way and my experiences aren't the way.
God can always correct, redirect, and shift my view. But I have to be open to receiving it.
One of my favorite professor's in college always said one third of his theology was wrong, he just didn't know which third. I have clung to this idea throughout my spiritual growth as I've learned to hold some truths very closely (Jesus is Lord!) while others more loosely. And that professor was the most well versed in biblical concepts and theology than anyone I've ever know.
The problem with messages, statements or proclamations that essentially say, "my way is the way," is that it leaves little to no room for humility.
What if that third of your theology is wrong? What if that third of my theology is wrong?
Are you willing to admit you might be the one who is spiritually blind?
This is a question I ask myself. The pharisees were not willing to admit their spiritual blindness in John 9, and it resulted in their blindness not being healed.
"Jesus said, 'For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.' Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, 'What? Are we blind too?' Jesus said, 'If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.'" John 9:39-41
If you read the entire chapter, you see that Jesus' compassion led Him to heal a blind man.
This man had been blind for life, and the pharisees were quick to say his blindness was a result of sin. They questioned the man and his family for being healed, because it took place on the sabbath.
That's against the rules, our rules! That can't happen.
But Jesus, the Son of God, was the One who broke the rules.
He was the One who went against tradition and expectation in the life of the blind man. And the blind man wasn't the one who was sinning, it was the pharisees. They sinned with their lack of humility. They sinned by being unwilling to admit their own spiritual blindness.
They were so focused on their own rules that they missed out on seeing Jesus.
And as a result, Jesus told them because they claimed to see, their guilt remains.
God can do a lot with humble, willing hearts.
But He can't do a lot with people who claim to see perfectly as they are.
Personally, I want to allow Jesus to break my rules in His sovereignty every time.
I might be spiritually blind.
But God will heal me and allow me to see. I pray that we all have willing and open hearts to receive Jesus' way, even when it looks different than what we want it to look like, expect it to look like, or how we were taught it looked like.