Rebel Without a Cause
One of the fun little things I did during this time at home was to take an online quiz about the 4 Tendencies. After answering a few short questions, I was designated a Rebel. Though the label is less than flattering, I can't refute the findings. I am an independent thinker. I do things that I believe are good and worthy of doing, not because anyone else expects me to do them. If I'm pressured to do something I don't want to do, I balk and "put up my dukes."
While I definitely own that being a rebel is a personal characteristic, I also see a lot of it in my American heritage and culture. America was founded by people who passionately believed in their own personal freedom, even if that meant overwriting the cultures that preexisted their arrival, even if it meant fighting superior forces to claim that freedom. America's rebel history is not all noble and for many many people, those were not the good ol' days.
Being a rebel can be noble and righteous. It can also be arrogant and selfish. For me, if I sense my rebel spirit being triggered, I must reflect if it's righteous indignation or my flesh that's being inflamed. Just because I don't like something doesn't mean I am right.
In the midst of our current pandemic, some feel that these severe restrictions are a slap to the face of healthy, law abiding citizens. Jesus had a recommendation for people who are slapped in the face.
Matthew 5:39 says, "But I tell you not to resist an evil person. If someone slaps you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also;"
Nowadays, people are mad that the laws around Covid 19 are costing them financially. Jesus wasn't concerned about our ability to get ahead financially, so much as he was concerned about our ability to give radically.
Matthew 5:40 says, "If you are sued in court and your shirt is taken from you, give your coat, too."
Nowadays, people are upset by rules that infringe upon their rights to move about freely. In Jesus' day, Roman rule dictated that a Jew would have to carry the load of an occupying soldier for a mile without payment or recourse. Jesus' response?
Matthew 5:41 says, "If a soldier demands that you carry his gear for a mile, carry it two miles."
Jesus was a rebel, but not the aggressive gun-toting, flag waving type that we see on the nightly news. His cause was higher than personal earthly freedom. His cause was deeper than protecting the creature comforts we are so enamored with. Jesus always took things to the next level, in a way that tore the listener out of their earthly mindset and challenged them to live according to a different kingdom's culture.
I am a rebel. I am an American. Above all, I am a Jesus follower. That characteristic supersedes any others. That culture must guide my response to the things in my life that hurt or degrade me; that cost me and are unfair.