face-planting in the highest

If you are a dog owner you will probably know how dogs like to find the smelliest, muddiest, sludgiest places in which to wallow and roll. And they then come back to you wagging their tails, feeling very proud of themselves.

I have a feeling that they think that they are doing something nice for you, their human. They like how it feels / smells and assume that you will be equally happy with their new odour, texture and colour – especially if they can spread it all over your car, house or clothes.

It’s a bit like cats who bring into the house rodents and birds they have caught. I think they especially like it if they can bring these animals into the house while they are still alive. They bring them as a present for you – after all, cats enjoy playing with mice and birds, so why wouldn’t you, their human, be equally happy?

They just don’t understand.

jesus weptThere’s an occasion in the gospels when Jesus’ followers come to him with a similar approach – look what we’ve done for you, aren’t you proud of us – when in fact I think Jesus would have responded with a face-plant that is hidden behind the text.

“Master,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we tried to stop him, because he is not one of us.”

“Do not stop him,” Jesus said, “for whoever is not against you is for you.”

(Luke 9:49-50)

They just didn’t understand.

They thought there were doing something he would approve of, but they got it wrong. They didn’t understand just how wide God’s grace is. They were judging other people who were not ‘in’ and excluding them, whereas Jesus’ approach seems to have been more about including people who were ‘out’.

I am fairly confident that there are plenty of other occasions in the gospels where there is a sub-textual face plant by Jesus when his followers get it wrong.

And I am fairly confident that I have been the cause of quite a few divine face-plants.

And I suspect, when Christians are being judgemental, critical, unpleasant, rude, exclusive, and condemnatory there are plenty of divine face-plants. Have a look at what some Christians are posting every day on social media and tell me I’m wrong because they show that the ‘he is not one of us’ attitude is sadly alive and well.

It may be well-meaning, with the intention of pleasing Jesus, but we might as well roll in some stinky, slimy mud or bring him some rodents or birds we have caught if we think that attitude pleases him.

Be blessed, be a blessing.

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