As we all learned recently, Dr. Jerry Falwell Jr. is packing!
“Good violence beats bad violence. Neutralizing the threat. Taking them out. Let’s all get trained to defend and, when necessary, kill. Praise God, Amen. Et cetera.” We’ve heard this before.
For some Christians, this entire event feels grotesque. Although we might not be surprised, we are still shocked by the warped, disfigured image of the Gospel it projects.
When confronted with an event like this, I tend to scramble about internally – looking for reasons to assure myself that I am somehow not covered by the shadow it casts. Falwell becomes an easy target I use to confirm for myself and those who already agree with me how right I am.
I want to assert distance and difference: I am not like him. Or more corporately: We are not like them. I want to leverage the *obvious* ridiculousness of it all to clarify my position over against those who are wrong.
Then I watched the video again, and the second wave of shock reverberated deep in my gut. If I listen closely and really pay attention, I can hear my own voice in his.
To my great horror, it turns out that I’m packing too. I’m more like Falwell than I like to admit.It turns out I’m packing too. I’m more like Falwell than I like to admit. Click To Tweet
The grotesque display helps clarify my brokenness. It leads me to the darker places in my heart I conveniently leave unexplored. It becomes an occasion for noticing the subtle-but-thick grace I’ve overlooked in my self-justification.
So, I repent. I repent because I, too, keep weapons concealed in my back pocket. I pull them out whenever I feel like my status quo is threatened. I repent because I, too, stand in places of power and make religious declarations that cost me nothing yet bolster my image among my constituents.
I repent because I’ve actually discharged my weapon – lashed out in violence – against those who tread on my comfort and unholy pursuit for religious accomplishment. I repent because I’ve committed these acts under the guise of non-violence. I repent because I have defended my turf in my power over and over again.
I repent because I have trusted in the power of the weapons I have concealed more than I have trusted Christ, more than I have trusted in the Spirit’s power to raise the dead. I repent of my desire for control and safety.
Today, I want to come out in the open and name that I am afraid of losing control and becoming totally dependent. Today, I want to surrender my fear and fear tactics to Christ’s peace. Today, I want to trust with my whole self that the Lamb who was slain has begun his reign.