Loving conviction

A caveat before we begin. I do not condone the events of the siege of Capitol Hill, nor do I believe that anyone in that crowd was in the right. I was as shocked and horrified as anyone watching the disturbing images of violence on Wednesday. That is why, as I wrote this blog post, I was quite surprised with what came out. That would not have been *my* heart on facing that mob. But God is like that… surprising us with His love despite the circumstances that we see.

This morning I listened to the devotional from Lectio 365 app and the story of the rich young ruler from Mark 10:17-23. In the story, as I opened my spirit to receive the words that God wanted me to hear this morning, the part that struck me was these words:

“Jesus looked at him and loved him”.

It was from this point of love, he challenged the young ruler to give up everything he had and give it to the poor. It seems to me (although I could be wrong here) that the rich young ruler had come to Jesus with a bit of ‘smugness’ about how righteous he had been since a child. He believed that following the religious rules were what would give him eternal life. But, as usual, Jesus shows him that there is a different way, a deeper way to look at things.

The events of Capitol Hill this past week showed the world a very ugly side. And as I read over this passage about surrendering everything to Jesus, I imagined Jesus up there in front of that crowd as it amassed. What would Jesus have said to them? Many profess to be “Christian”. So what would their Lord have said to them as they gathered?

I imagine him standing before this large crowd, quietly looking at them and loving them. Because that is what Jesus does… he loves. No matter what state of mind we are in, he loves us. No matter what state our hearts are in, he always loves. Again, I imagine Him looking each one of those people in the eyes as he says to each heart, “One thing you lack…” For each one, it would be a personal word, just as it is with us. Jesus is not asking every one of us to give up our financial resources necessarily. But I believe that he is striking at the core of each one of us – showing us the idols that take His place, the things that we hold more dearly than the lordship of Christ in our lives. What if the issue was not necessarily the riches of the young ruler… what if it was that the ruler had made his riches more important than Jesus? He had elevated his power, privilege and riches above His Lord. And Jesus knew that. So as he looked at him in love He revealed the true ‘lord’ in his heart.

So my friends…. if you want to and if you choose to, have a conversation with Jesus. In it, imagine that you are the rich, young ruler in front of Jesus. Look upon Jesus’ loving eyes as his compassion washes over you. Then, hear those words, “One thing you lack…” followed by what it is that might be more important than Jesus. Is there anything that you need to surrender to Jesus? Listen quietly in your heart for the gentle words of conviction…. given in love.