Since we are sharing a series of posts about our move to Ireland, I thought I’d repost some other posts from around that time as it’ll give some insight to what was going on. I may make small edits or update information, but generally they’ll be shared as originally published #FlashbackFriday
I’ve been thinking about being comfortable lately. One of that issues that we deal with when we are in the midst of a transition is discomfort. When we move from a place where we understand how things work, and what our role is, we’d consider ourselves comfortable with our surroundings. When our situation changes, we experience a level of discomfort. (Obviously, the bigger the transition, the bigger the discomfort).
Churches often talk about being comfortable too. Or at least decreasing the level of discomfort, especially for people who are new to the church. The best way I’ve ever heard it said is Bill Hybels’ statement that the church should be a “safe place to hear a dangerous message.”
In other words, our goal is not to provide a comfortable place for people. In fact, part of what we do is challenge people to change their lives. To take up their cross and follow Christ. Transformation is not a comfortable process.
At the same time, we don’t want to put hurdles in people’s way. If you go to a church a few times & no one has spoken to you, you have not been made to feel comfortable, and the likelihood is, you won’t be there to hear the gospel of the Kingdom.
Recently I heard a conversation where two people where talking about comfort when it comes to Sunday mornings. The one person stated that he was sensitive to the issue, but thought at times it goes to far. The second person pointed out that Jesus was always making people uncomfortable, and began expounding on some stories of His interactions with the Pharisees.
I interjected that while that was characteristic of His interacts with the Pharisees, when it came to the hurting and broken, He did not go out of his way to make them uncomfortable. However, over the next few hours, story after story came into my mind of how He made hurting people uncomfortable. (yelling “who touched me?” to the woman with the flow of blood and making her identify herself rather than letting her sneak into the background. Calling another woman and her child dogs. You get the idea.)
But as I thought about each of the examples that came to mind, what I realized was that when even Jesus made a hurting person uncomfortable, it was for a purpose. It was for their benefit. It was always redemptive.
Too often when we make broken and hurting people uncomfortable, it has nothing to do with the other person. It has to do with our preferences (“I want this kind of music on Sundays because this is how I best relate to God.”); with our laziness, (“I come on Sunday to receive.” “I have too many other things going on to get involved.”); or with a general lack of concern for those who are distant from Jesus.
Just something I’ve been thinking about.