I have a confession to make: I don’t really want to follow Jesus.
Don’t worry, I’m not going off the deep end. It’s just that, as I look at my life, it seems everything inside of me wants to run the other direction from what Jesus taught.
Loving my enemies is fine in theory, until I really have one. Then I want to pound him into the ground. Not returning evil for evil is a great thought, until I’m on the receiving end, then I want to dish it back in large doses. Mercy, forgiveness, making peace, and turning the other cheek are all things I’m not fond of doing.
Those things are hard. They take sacrifice and dying to myself — two more things I’m not naturally excited about. I want the benefits of following Jesus. I want the things that HE brings to ME. But when it comes time to lay down my agenda, my rights, or my desire to protect myself, I’m not so sure I’m ready for that.
Unfortunately, I can’t have one without the other. Jesus said I’m not worthy of following Him if I’m not willing to die to myself. He said I won’t be forgiven if I don’t forgive. He said that following Him would mean loneliness, rejection, and a loss of my rights. Not what you might call “brochure material.”
So I have a choice to make. Follow Him or follow my own way. It’s a choice I have to make every minute of every day. It’s a choice I have to make when it would be easier to hate my enemy than love him. It’s a choice I have to make when it would be easier to follow my natural inclinations that to live the beatitudes.
That’s hard. But, then again, maybe that’s why there are only a few who walk the narrow way.