A friend asked me yesterday, “How do you feel about Jacob Blake?” We both got off the phone, and my heart just sank. That question has followed me since that moment. We find ourselves again amid a conversation about racial reckoning and reconciliation.
Read the book of Job. His friends mercifully sat with him in his suffering. Then they opened their mouths. Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar, and Elihu try to explain away Job’s pain. In essence, they try to say that Job must have done something wrong for God to allow this to happen.
The gospel of Jesus takes us to uncomfortable places. Job’s friends took the easy road to explain away his problems. Jesus engaged the suffering of society. He heals the untouchables and gathers the marginalized. He walks through the darkness of the cross. All the while, the religious leaders debated laws and theology looking a lot like Job’s friends.
We can have a civil discourse about protesting and politics. The ideal of freedom in America is that we can agree to disagree. I’m wondering at this moment if we can pause the debates to see our black and brown brothers and sisters.
We don’t have to agree politically to affirm the image of God in our black and brown brothers and sisters.
We don’t have to agree politically to listen to our black and brown brothers and sisters’ suffering.
We don’t have to agree politically to love people as Jesus would.
We don’t have to agree politically to allow the gospel to shape our hearts.
We don’t have to agree politically for our dinner tables to reflect the diversity of heaven.
The gospel takes us to uncomfortable places. It calls us to have difficult conservations. It moves us towards grace and truth. It invites us to carry the burdens of others. Living out the gospel of Jesus is more challenging than taking the path of Job’s friends.
I’m grieving for us right now. As Bryan Loritts says, “The gospel is vertical and horizontal.” Followers of Jesus now have the opportunity to live out the horizontal dimension of the gospel. Let’s not miss this opportunity.
Originally published at https://peterenglert.com on August 27, 2020.