Remember your worst situation?
Would you go back?
If you are like me there are a thousand – a million – things I would rather do. Acknowledging a mess we made is hard enough. Human inclination is to leave our failure in the distance as soon as we possibly can. Unfortunately, saying we are sorry and getting something behind us does not repair a heart – ours or the ones we hurt. What if we were to go back into our mess….to make it right?
A recent conversation has me rethinking what is possible.
This morning I had coffee with a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps. Four tours, three in Iraq and one in Afghanistan, for a total of 10 years he served our country. He would tell you in the Marines he was a hell raiser. His job was to step into horribly violent situations and bring the force of hell upon an enemy. He and his unit were the tip of a sharp spear.
He would not trade his time in the Marines for anything. He is extremely proud of his country. He also realizes, however, as an American and a Christian, force alone does not bring peace. Jesus was serious when he said, love your enemy and today this U.S. Marine is doing all he can to bring the power of love into this world. He considers himself a peacemaker, and it is his most challenging deployment yet.
What brought up the conversation was a question I asked – Would you go back to Iraq?
To a veteran, asking if they would return to where he or she served is far more complicated than geography. It is a very emotional ask. The conflict, strain, friendships, loss, grief, hope, courage, fear – all roll within when contemplating a return. Yes, after a pause, came his answer and in fact a team is working now for that return to occur.
Our conversation is giving me new thoughts. As Christians we all know Jesus rose from the dead. The resurrection of Christ is the cornerstone of our faith. I have been asking, though, how He felt about returning? This world killed him. Friends betrayed him. We chose a criminal over him. And 3 days later God wants to send him back?
Maybe Jesus did so knowing this was all part of the plan, but the sight of those who did such violence to him had to make my Savior stir. What is it like to step back into the mess a second time and see?
Perhaps this is what Jesus knew – love unmakes violence.
The resurrection is Jesus walking back into the mess to make it right. It is our mess, of course, not His – but He is unwilling to leave us not knowing how to love. Jesus knew love can unmake any mess and he came back from the grave to make sure we know it too.
Pray today about stepping back into a mess.
It is difficult, but it might be the most Christian thing you ever do.
(thank you for reading, if you found Jesus in this please comment and share)