Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Jesus Invitation by Philip Yancey

I loved this description of how Jesus engaged people in a very unique way...

We sometimes use the term "savior complex" to describe an unhealthy syndrome of obsession over solving others' problems. Ironically, the true Savior seemed remarkably free of such a complex. He had no compulsion to convert the entire world in his lifetime or to cure people who were not ready to be cured.

I never sense Jesus twisting a person's arm. Rather, he stated the consequences of a choice, then threw the decision back to the other party. For example, he once answered a wealthy man's question with uncompromising words, then let him walk away. Mark pointedly adds this comment about the man who rejected Jesus' advice, "Jesus looked at him and loved him."

In short, Jesus showed an incredible respect for human freedom. Those of us in ministry need the kind of "Savior complex" that Jesus demonstrated. As Elton Trueblood has observed, the major symbols of invitation that Jesus used had a severe, even offensive quality: the yoke of burden, the cup of suffering, the towel of servanthood. "Take up your cross and follow me," he said, in the least manipulative invitation that has ever been given.

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