With this whole concept of “Not My Grandma’s Jesus,” I cycled through some of the Nickel Boy Graphics characters and imagined how they would react to it. These aren’t arranged in any special order other than what I thought would look good visually. These are just a few of the ideas that came to mind. More to follow!
I’m not saying that any of these are true and are a model for what you or anyone else should believe. This is not a multiple choice quiz where you try to “Select the one which best represents a proper Christian attitude. Please be sure to use a #2 pencil for accurate scoring.” There are no “trick questions”!
Yesterday, I wrote about how people can “Come and see” how wonderful Jesus is, how it would take all eternity to know Him. Today’s post is different. My writing began to be about “Why can’t people come and see Jesus?” but has evolved into “Why can’t I go and see people?”
For too many years, my thinking was along the lines of a person is either “A Christian” or “Not A Christian” according to my personal pre-determined standards. Perhaps one of the greatest dangers with this kind of thinking is that it can lead to treating people like they have never heard of Jesus or at least not “My Jesus.” (But that’s for another post and another day.)
Here’s what I mean. In the bottom left corner is Helena Montgomery, one of the not so pleasant Nickel Boy Graphics characters. On the surface, you might think she is definitely “Not A Christian,” and that was really what I was thinking when I originally drew her months ago and also when I gave here this speech balloon for today.
But now, I’m wondering if that’s true. The reason is in the words “bound up” which I didn’t choose for any other reason than that’s what I imagined she would say. Why these words? “Bound up” opens a whole world of possibilities for where she has come from, what she has experienced, and what has brought her to her present situation as we find her.
What if the message for me is I should do a self-inventory first and then listen more carefully to really see a person before I try to help them see Jesus?
“Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye. Luke 6:42 (NASB)
I wasn’t really listening when I wrote the words “bound up” originally, so what if someone had really said something like that to me? Would I have heard it? Would I have noticed what those words might let me see in that person’s life? Would I have seen them as a clue to know what I might say with the guidance of the Holy Spirit?
Here’s a radical thought. What if I assumed everyone already had a relationship with Jesus? So maybe it’s a one-way relationship and Jesus is the only one actively involved, but it’s still a relationship. What if my goal should not be to start that relationship but instead to help that relationship along?
Maybe someone like Helena Montgomery isn’t “Not A Christian” the way we assumed she is. Maybe there’s more to her story than we know. Maybe if we found out what “bound up” meant to her, we might just agree with her! Maybe we could say, “I agree with you. I don’t mean any disrespect, but maybe your grandma was wrong.” What if I was able to go to someone like Helena and see that what she needed was to give herself permission to come and see Jesus? Maybe then she would have the freedom to earnestly seek Him for herself? Or does this only work in comic strip worlds?