My Scandalous Life

The Merriam-Webster online dictionary gives this full definition of scandal:

  1. :  discredit brought upon religion by unseemly conduct in a religious person
    :  conduct that causes or encourages a lapse of faith or of religious obedience in another
  2. loss of or damage to reputation caused by actual or apparent violation of morality or propriety : disgrace
  3. :  a circumstance or action that offends propriety or established moral conceptions or disgraces those associated with it
    :  a person whose conduct offends propriety or morality <a scandal to the profession>
  4. malicious or defamatory gossip
  5. indignation, chagrin, or bewilderment brought about by a flagrant violation of morality, propriety, or religious opinion

Look at Jesus’ life from conception to death, from death to resurrection. It’s easy to come up with examples for every definition of scandal that is listed above.

  1. Jesus’s Sabbath Day practices went beyond the prescribed allowances. “Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.”
  2. Women, even prostitutes, were part of Jesus’ inner circle, and he taught them alongside the men.
  3. He stops the stoning of a woman caught in the act of adultery by quietly challenging the mob, “Let he who is without sin throw the first throne.”
  4. The religious rulers of the day went out of their way to spread lies, rumors, and half-truths to discredit Jesus because he claimed to be the Messiah.
  5. Angered by the money-grubbing activities taking place in  his father’s house, Jesus knocked over tables, let loose livestock, and drove the greedy merchandisers from the sacred places.

As a Christian, my goal is to follow in his footsteps, to become more and more Christlike, to ask myself WWJD (What would Jesus do?) and do it, and to seek his counsel so that I can follow his leading.
 I am beginning to realize that scandal is supposed to be a big part of my life.

What should my scandalous life look like?

We thrive on scandal in this society.

  • Did you see her latest post?
  • How about the latest “private photos never before published” that the paparizzi managed to take?
  • “That’s outrageous!” Let’s give it top billing on talk shows, news reports, E-zine articles, twitter, youtube … How about a reality show?

We revel in an amoral culture where anything goes:

  • If it feels good, do it.
  • Say whatever comes to you mind, using whatever language you feel like using.
  • It’s all about you–you’re worth it.
  • It’s only wrong if you get caught.
  • Buy now; pay later or not at all if you know how to work the system.

I don’t think society’s ideas of scandal match Jesus’ example. He didn’t create scandal to get attention, to stroke his own ego, to stay in the headlines, or to do whatever he felt like doing whenever he felt like it.

  • His scandals were meant to set us free from rigid rules and striving for perfection–we can’t follow them perfectly and will never be perfect; no one can.
    It’s a heart issue.
  • We can’t be perfect; we will sin and justice demands payment. So Jesus fulfilled justice for everybody’s sins with his painful death and defeated death with his resurrection. All we have to do is believe it.
    It’s a heart issue.
  • Imagine it: Triune God one minute and the next a  mewling baby born in the filth of a sheep shed. From almighty to helpless in one gasp for breath. Why?
    It’s a heart issue.
  • Jesus’ scandals stemmed from his great love for us.
    It’s heart issue.

What should my scandalous life look like? 

It’s a heart issue.

  • What do I fill my heart with?
    That means I need to read his words, memorize them, and spend quiet time listening and conversing with him.
  • I need to pour so much of God’s agape love (selfless and unconditional love) into my heart
    that it overflows and splashes on all those around me.
  • Efforts to enhance my reputation will be replaced with eyes that see those in need of God’s overflowing agape love
    even if it takes me out of my comfort zone.
  • Forgive. Forgive. Forgive.
  • Examine and re-examine my motives as I learn to be more and more like Jesus.

It’s a heart issue.

My scandalous life should look like agape love.

Originally posted in December 2013

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