Jesus never promised ‘safe spaces’


Today’s culture demands “safe spaces” from which to escape real-life’s conflicts in values, beliefs, relationships, politics, morality . . . the list goes on and on. Jesus preached the exact opposite. He warns, “In this world you will have trouble” (John 16:33 NIV). Accept conflict and—unbelivably—rejoice in it.

      “God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way (Matthew 5:11-12).

      Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it (Matthew 16:24-25).

      “Look, I am sending you out as sheep among wolves. So be as shrewd as snakes and harmless as doves. But beware! For you will be handed over to the courts and will be flogged with whips in the synagogues. You will stand trial before governors and kings because you are my followers. But this will be your opportunity to tell the rulers and other unbelievers about me” (Matthew 10:16-18).

      “A brother will betray his brother to death, a father will betray his own child, and children will rebel against their parents and cause them to be killed. And all nations will hate you because you are my followers. But everyone who endures to the end will be saved” (Matthew 10:21-22).

      “I know all the things you do. I have seen your hard work and your patient endurance. I know you don’t tolerate evil people. You have examined the claims of those who say they are apostles but are not. You have discovered they are liars. You have patiently suffered for me without quitting. (Revelation 2:2-3).

Finally, Jesus never taught his followers to hole away in a safe place:

      Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations . . . (Matthew 28:19, italics mine).

Jesus warned, “In this world you will have trouble.” However— thankfully—he concluded that verse with, “But take heart! I have overcome the world” (NIV). We are safe in him!

© Copyright 2017 James N. Watkins. All Scripture, unless noted, from New Living Translation.

Clarifications

1. I do believe that Jesus’ disciples are to be safe people! Doing unto others as we would have done to us, loving our enemies, caring for “the least of these,” . . .

2. And, as a result, I do believe that the Church of Christ is designed to be a safe space in that fellow believers are loved, accepted, discipled—and disciplined—with compassionate care and confrontation.

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