“Trust gets you killed, love gets you hurt and being real gets you hated.” ~ Johnny Cash
I stumbled upon this quote yesterday and thought that I would use it for today’s reflection. When I read it, I did not see “Johnny Cash”. When I read it, I saw “Jesus Christ” because the quote immediately made me think of Jesus. Jesus loved and trusted His followers. Some betrayed Him, others abandoned Him, and still others killed Him. He was as authentic as they come, telling people about the love of His Father and proving that love by healing the sick and raising the dead. His authenticity led to His being hated.
Not once, not once, did He say to His followers, “You know what, guys, I think we’d better close up shop. It’s getting too dicey out there. There are too many people out to get me. I think I’ll switch lines of work. Let’s restart your fishing business.” No. He continued being authentic. He continued loving. He continued trusting. All the way to His death.
I know. There are a lot of people out there who say, “Well, of course He continued to do all of that. After all, He’s God.” Yes, my friends, He is. However, He is also truly man. As a man, He hurt. He suffered, and He died. Knowing what was in store for Him, He continued on nonetheless.
I see that example of Jesus in many people. They proclaim the love of God and are attacked by others. They go out to spread the love of God and are often martyred. The danger of death does not stop them. They know that the message of salvation is too important to keep to themselves. They know that they were commissioned by God to go into the world and tell the Good News.
Why then is it so hard for us to love? Why is it so hard to proclaim the faith? Why is it so hard to risk being hurt by others for placing our trust in God? I’ll tell you why. It’s hard because we often look to the world for our comfort, hope, and validation. The world doesn’t matter. It is not going to give us eternal life. The world, steeped in sin, can only lead us away from God. We must not proclaim the truths of the world, we must proclaim the truths of God to the world and those who live therein.
It’s a risky proposition. Yet, it is the only one that can bring us to the Kingdom. We might be hated, hurt, or killed for trusting in God and loving our brothers and sisters. Do it anyway.
FAITH ACTION: Ask God for the particular grace needed to be an authentic Christian in today’s world.