We fool ourselves if we think that society in the last 2000 years has fallen in step with the teachings and values of Jesus. Go into the boardroom of most any major corporation and try to convince the board of directors that people are more important than profits. How far do you think you would get? Certainly, no farther than first base, and it’s doubtful you would even get up to bat.
Go to Congress or the Senate and argue there that housing and jobs and education and the respect for all human life at all its stages should take precedence over greed and guns and self-interest concerns. How far do you think you would get? Perhaps about as far as Jesus did when He called His generation to love their enemies and to overcome evil with good.
But we don’t have to go so far. Most of us do not sit on the board of a major corporation nor address the lawmakers of this country. Our challenge to stand with and for Jesus comes a little closer to home. Young people, how easy is it to stand with and for Jesus when you’re out with friends? Suppose you should decide that your body really is “the temple of the Holy Spirit”, as our Lord taught and, therefore, should not be contaminated with drugs or alcohol or soiled with “recreational” sex. There are places in our society where that kind of stand would not make you popular with many of your friends. Perhaps that’s true in our own family or in our own community. You see, it isn’t easy to live a clean life in a corrupt and pagan society. Try it and you may find yourself divided from some people who you had formerly thought of as friends.
The adult world is no different. There is something wrong somewhere with our commitment to follow Jesus if it never sets us apart from the crowd or brings us into conflict with so-called modern thinking or so-called modern moral “values”. Do we dare to think that this world has so conformed to the message of our Resurrected Lord that He could live here in our community or in our family this time to the tune of wholehearted acceptance? And yet is this not what we should be working to bring about? Should we not be working to build our community and our family as a place where Jesus is really important?
The world that hated Jesus back then would hate Him now and for the same reasons. To value truth above emotional illusions, the will of God above the will of other human beings or even ourselves, and people above greed, or faithfulness and loyalty above pleasure, has never been a popular way to live. That’s why the world is in the shape it’s in. That’s why violence grows at such a rapid pace. That’s why respect for God, or others, or oneself has reached such a low level. In this kind of community or family, if you truly stand for Jesus and His principles and values, divisions and conflicts are inevitable.
We must prefer Jesus’ words above all else. If we would walk with Jesus by obeying His words and values, we would build a better community and a more loving family. Our community needs that, and so do you and I. Keep up your efforts and keep your commitment to Jesus alive in your family and in our community each day.