Part 2: How Jesus Commands Us to Handle Critics

Part 2: How Jesus Commands Us to Handle Critics September 14, 2010

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Movement #1: Stay close to those you trust with you life (Matthew 10:11-12)

Scripture for Movement #1: 11“Whatever town or village you enter, search for some worthy person there and stay at his house until you leave. 12As you enter the home, give it your greeting.

Insight #1 from Matthew 10:11: Whatever town or village you enter, search for some worthy person there and stay at his house until you leave.

Summary Sentence for Insight #1: Rely on those you trust with your life.

Commentary for Insight #1: Verse 11 is the opening to the instructions that Jesus is giving to his disciples about how to faithfully live out a life of the Way (the countercultural mission of living out a faith in God directed through the unique teachings and life of Jesus Christ) no matter what obstacles that may be faced. Jesus begins his lesson by proclaiming, “Whatever town or village you enter, search for some worthy person there and stay at his house until you leave.”

The main point to this first verse is to find someone that you can literally trust with your life—providing you with shelter, comfort, encouragement and love—that you may recharge in peace to go out and do it all over again the next day. As exemplified throughout the life of Jesus public ministry, there are numerous gatekeepers out there who don’t want to hear one word that goes against anything they have ever thought to be true.

Yet the Way is about living distinctly, not about protecting an institution.

Therefore when the gatekeepers get wind of your life and teaching the first thing they are going to want to do is take you and your message out—especially when it gains traction in contrast to their way losing its audience and influence. Jesus understands, that for us, there is no possibility to sustain countercultural living in real time in this crazy world unless you have a specific person, or if you are fortunate enough a group of people, around you who want nothing from you but to totally have your back. There are enough people out there, well intentioned or not, who want or need things from us, take personal ownership of us, and there are even those who hate us to the point of death.

This ‘inner circle’ person or group is our shelter so that we will be able to keep pressing on day after day. Without them our work cannot be as thorough or consistent as it needs to. We will spend too much time constantly on the run and the defensive, fighting what daily seems as an unwinnable battle, without any respite. Jesus knew this and thus, gave us a command for life’s wholistic shelter as the very first instruction so that we may have a solid foundation to trust upon without any extra effort. We are then able to build our work and cultural engagement upon those that have strength for us, like Aaron and Hur holding up Moses’ arms in the battle against the Amalekites.

Application for Insight #1: If I didn’t have a few certain people in my life that I could literally trust my life with, there is no way I would still be able to keep on keeping on. I started this journey alone. I started this journey getting laughed at, called out, told impossible (and that was just by the first 641 churches I went to asking for help) and that living the Way within the culture war of the LGBT and religious communities would never be able sustainably happen.

I didn’t have words for it then, but the Christian world is so caught up in ‘accountability partners’ and ‘mentors’. Those are the two most overrated parts of our faith. I was looking for them because I believed what I had been told, that those two entities are the only way to ‘succeed’ in life and ministry. Well, they’re not. You don’t need a human to direct your path, give you constant advice or act as the all-intelligent-wise-Yoda. God does all of that. Quit looking for it where we shouldn’t; and quit substituting people or leaders you know for the work God can mentor, guide and do in and through your life—if only you’ll let God. A good friend of mine who is a pastor in the g-h-e-t-t-o always says,

“I’m tired of people in Church settings complaining that they aren’t ‘getting fed.’ Feed yourself! Church is a quick replenishing booth so you can go out again. If you look at it as your full source of all things spiritual, you’re looking to the wrong place. Grow up and build a sustainable and dependent relationship with God.”

While we do our work all we need is someone, or a small group of people, to continue unconditionally loving us no matter what may occur. I believe that hope is a shield that provides space for us to continue moving forward—and that hope is provided by God with the space being provided by God lived out as a shield by those few people around us that allow us to rest, rejuvenate, be ourselves—that we may be recharged daily to go and face our mission again day after day.

Looking back I wasted too much time searching for mentors or leaders to teach me and show me how to do things ‘right’ when all they did was tell me it couldn’t be done. God’s Way is right. Live in it, learn through it and then cling oh-so-desperately to those who aren’t concerned with force-feeding you their wisdom or advice, but those that want nothing else but to love you, cry with you and ask nothing from you in return.

This is our base that a living a life with critics must be built off of if there is any hope of sustainability.

Much love.

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