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What Did I Expect?

Sometimes ministry feels like one long struggle toward compassion and forgiveness

He didn't say, "Take up your sofa, the really light comfy one, and follow me." He also didn't say, "Click 'like' and follow my entertaining tweets from the comfort of your own home." Just like he didn't say, "Here's an Instagram of a dead person I raised. Share if you think I'm awesome."

My Jesus is not virtual. I sometimes wish he was. I could be all up to date with his stuff and get on with my life by 8 a.m.

But the real Jesus. My Jesus. He asks hard stuff that requires me to get off my backside and say sorry. Yeugh. Not only that, but to mean it, and forgive the back stabber, to even offer the other cheek. For real? Do you know how much this hurts? To know exactly what she's said, the words she's used, the names she's called me, in public. Not. just. once. The gargantuan effort it takes daily to let her off without retribution, shame, punishment. Gosh. It's too much, Jesus.

I want her to hurt. I want her name in tatters on the floor where she dragged mine. I want her to say it to my face so I have legitimate reason to slap her, twice (maybe three times if I'm honest). I want her to choke on the chicken casserole I took round (hoping for the slap). When I ask you to take her down, I want you to answer my fervent prayer. Seriously, Lord.

But here I am, smiling and shaking hands. Asking about her father's health, her vacation plans, talking about the weather. Because I know if I open Pandora's Box, only my dirty little heart will spill out. I'm restricted in my rage only by the fact that I'm a professional Christian and that nothing I do or say will be done or said in secret. My words and actions will affect the whole flock. They will affect the name of my Shepherd.

Maybe that's why he called me to pastor, simply to save me from shooting the sheep. By keeping me in plain view, he has a working chance at keeping his people from the violent attacks of the vicar.

I "knew" following Jesus wouldn't be plain sailing. But there's an epic difference between watching the weather forecast and living in the storm. I'm drenched by icy water, lashed by angry gales, and assaulted by the artillery fire of the rain.

What I'm saying is I just don't LIKE it right now. I don't like the whole silent acceptance thing; it feels so victimy. AND the whole no-one-will-ever-know-what-actually-went-on thing. I'm accused of a crime I didn't commit and I can't defend myself. (Yes. I GET it. I just. don't. LIKE it).

So. Options:

1. I get bitter. Meh. Not fun.

2. I stay angry. Not possible. I'll just get bitter.

June30, 2014 at 8:00 AM

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