Showing Beats Telling Every Time

I picked up the morning paper and immediately saw articles about problems caused in people because of drugs. Overdoses among those released from prison are proportionately high. Locking people in prison for using drugs had essentially no effect.

There are many other stories about what drugs and addictions do to people daily in every news source.

There are other things that people do that destroy their lives–physically, emotionally, relationally. We know about them. We see them. We read ancient texts that describe them. It’s not a new phenomena.

Yet, what have followers of Jesus really done about it?

Do we point fingers and preach (telling) about how bad those things are?

Do we support locking people away in prisons or other institutions? Anything to get them off the streets and away from our sight?

Helping people after they’ve gone far down the wrong road is exceedingly difficult. There are people who do that. They should be celebrated as heroes. (How about that media? Celebrating people who help rather than loud-mouthed politicians? Maybe that would solve a few things?)

What about before they get so far down that road?

I wrote Friday about repentance. Turning away from the road you’re on and going down a different one. About how Matthew says Jesus began his ministry the same way–preaching repentance.

However, Jesus did it differently than John. Reading at the end of Matthew’s report, Jesus leaves his followers (us) the “Great Commission”. I love the way Jon Swanson approaches his writing. I wish I could be like him. But I guess I’m more like me. Today, Jon paraphrased that passage:

“Make more followers of me the same way I made followers of me. Spend time with people, showing them how you live. When you do, make sure that you are choosing to spend some of that time with every class of people. The kind you fit with, and the kind you don’t.”

What if we (including me…and you) did more of this when we can reach people before they get too far down that road?

I’ve always liked the heart of American liberalism more than that of American conservatives. The emphasis on helping people. However, they picked up some ideas in the early 20th century from Europe about using the power of government to help. Governments really can’t solve all problems.

Who can help? Who can solve the problems?

Well, Jesus of course. But not miraculously by some lightning strike from the sky, but through his followers. Who show people how to live and save them one person at a time. And one at a time until we reach every single living person. Isn’t that what we were commissioned to do when we signed up?

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