Jesus was poor but a threat to the wealthy and the economy designed to favor themselves. Jesus was gentle and caring but was a threat to those who used physical force, political power and indebtedness to control others.
Jesus hungered and thirst for righteousness and made it his life’s goal to teach others to do the same. He pursue justice no matter the cost and this threatened the judicial system that separated the powerless from getting in the way of the powerful.
Jesus was merciful which was welcomed by those who sought mercy but a threat to those who mercilessly inflicted great pain and suffering on others out of fear, insecurity, or xenophobia.
Jesus was pure in heart which threatened all of us who selfishly abandon good and rightness for the sake of self-satisfaction and greed.
Jesus was a peacemaker in a world addicted to war, violence, and division. His way was not and still is not welcome in this world.
Henri Nouwen wrote, “The Blessed One of God is a threat to the established order and a source of constant irritation to those who consider themselves the rulers of this world. Without his accusing anyone he is considered an accuser, without his condemning anyone he makes people feel guilty and ashamed, without his judging anyone those who see him feel judged. In their eyes, he cannot be tolerated and needs to be destroyed, because letting him be seems like a confession of guilt.”
Fear is a powerful drug that makes human beings do some pretty crazy things. As we seek to become more like Jesus, there’s a good chance that we too will not always to be liked and admired. And we have to be prepared to be rejected, even in the most hurtful and harmful ways.
But let us not forget that in the midst of this struggle to be like Christ, others are also struggling to comprehend it, and find their place in it. It’s counterintuitive as much as it counter cultural. At first we will be a threat, but eventually our non-judgmental love and our willing to be merciful, forgiving and peacemaking will so that we are not the threat, nor are we seen as the problem.
Let us live in love, just as Jesus did, even if it kills us.