Despite a fairly rough childhood, I’m a product of suburban America. I spent my teenage years on a small country farm just an hour from downtown Dallas. I had a few minimum wage jobs in high-school, participated in church outreach, and worked at a summer camp. And today, I attend a private college in the heart of the “Bible Belt”. It’s a comfortable existence. I can list a handful of times I’ve felt actually uncomfortable in the last decade.
This weekend, the political world erupted over a Trump executive order. Behind my computer screen, I watched the drama unfold. A Christian Syrian family sent back to Damascus. An Iraqi who worked for the US military detained. Hundreds protesting at airports across the country. My Twitter feed was unsettling. And when the arguments spread to my Facebook, I was annoyed. This was my FB, not my political watchdog. I didn’t want to watch the uncomfortable drama play out among updates on my friend’s relationship statuses.
Instead, I was glad to tune it out. I could shut off my phone, watch some funny Youtube videos, and spend my weekend reading. Then calmly listen to a World Mag podcast explaining the executive order on Monday.
That’s an Entitled Attitude
What bothers me, is that’s my normal attitude. I don’t deserve to be uncomfortable. I can retreat into my phone, my books, my friends and protect myself from anything I don’t enjoy.
Last Wednesday, a professor at my school discussed entitlement and the Gospel. Amid references to racial profiling, sexism and judging, he asked what kind of conclusions I draw about other people.
Conclusions made in a matter of seconds
Conclusions that are based on prejudice, stereotypes and personal pride.
I like to think of myself as kind. Unprejudiced. A person who stands up for down-and-out people in our society.
But the truth is, if it makes me uncomfortable, I’m not going to get involved. And sometimes, I don’t even know that it’ll make me uncomfortable. But I judge the situation, draw a rapid-fire conclusion and walk away.
This realization was unnerving. And it wasn’t terrible just because I think of myself as better than prejudice.
It’s awful, because I claim to follow Christ.
Jesus Chose to be Uncomfortable
My Savior chose to die for me. He chose to leave perfection to come to an evil world. To give up His heavenly power so I could have the chance to know Him.
And He left me so, so many example of living outside of His own comfort zone.
Eating with tax collectors. Talking with the women at the well. Choosing fisherman to be His best friends.
Since I’ve started thinking about this, I’m overcome by my attitude. How often I get frustrated at people who make me uncomfortable. Or avoid certain types of people. Or complain when I have to step outside my comfort zone.
Thinking about Jesus’ example made me realize – Christians shouldn’t have comfort zones.
Our calling is to be in the world, but not of the world. We’re strangers on our way to a heavenly kingdom. And we’re called to be a blessing to this world. To give, not expecting anything in return.
All of the grace and mercy Jesus showed us, we should show others. His sacrifice of grace should destroy our sense of entitlement. Any lingering grasp on comfort should be crushed under the weight of the Cross.
Living an Uncomfortable Calling
Choosing to be uncomfortable means stepping away from entitlement. Instead of asking what I want, asking what God wants. Right now, a few scenarios come to mind.
Starting a conversation with the Chinese waiter at the Hibachi buffet.
Giving to ministry instead of spending money on me.
Instead of grabbing fast-food, choosing to find someone who is eating alone.
Uncomfortable living means not just taking up popular crusades. It’s easy to jump on the pro-life bandwagon. It’s much easier to ignore everything Trump does. It’s so much more comfortable to simply ignore politics on social media.
And sometimes, it is good not to get into that mess. But if my reason is simply because it makes me uncomfortable, then I’m failing my Christian calling.
I’m not entitled to comfort. Or anything else.
But because of my salvation through Jesus, I can live an uncomfortable life.