Speaking the Truth in Love

Open Season on Christians

One evening about 10 years ago, I was listening to “Marketplace” (a financial-news program on National Public Radio). Kai Ryssdal, the show’s host, was discussing the nation’s economic woes—the weak dollar, steep oil prices, the housing slump, and so forth. Into his conversation with the audience, Ryssdal casually interjected a shocking insult. He said, “If you really want to scare the Jesus out of someone, then tell them … [the rest of his sentence identified yet another indicator of economic trouble ahead].”

Image result for philipians 2:6-7If I could bend Kai Ryssdal’s ear for a moment, I’d tell him a thing or two about Jesus. First, our Lord can’t be frightened. Although equal with the Father in nature and glory, he “emptied himself” and became a man (Phil. 2:6-7). His entire purpose for coming into the world was to experience a brutal death for sinful men and women of every time and place. Jesus dreaded the ordeal before him, but he never wavered in his determination to secure life for helpless sinners. When a sedative (wine mixed with myrrh) was offered to him at Golgotha, Jesus refused it. He would accept no relief from the agony to be endured.

Second, a true Christian is never so frightened by bad financial news (or news of any other kind) that he would abandon his faith. The Lord means far more to us than Kai Ryssdal can understand. Jesus is our life. We love him with every fiber of our being.

Finally, I would tell Mr. Ryssdal that his comment hurts people who genuinely care about him. He never speaks of scaring the Muhammad out of someone. And why? Because Islamic fanatics are perfectly capable of blowing up radio stations, kidnapping their critics, and cutting off their heads. Christians won’t do that. Why not? Because the Lord whom Kai Ryssdal mocks has taught his disciples to love and pray for even those who revile or mistreat them.

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