Is “Easy” a Good Thing?
Several months ago I washed the siding on our family home: by hand. Every two or three years the siding on the north exterior starts to turn green with fungus. Normally, the cure is relatively simple. A pressure washer and some cleanser from the hardware store will restore the luster in a couple of hours. Why, then, did I wash our house by hand?
The siding is trimmed with painted wood which peels and cracks with time. The trim is almost due for a point job and I knew a pressure washer would only make matters worse. So I washed it by hand. It took all day, but I deferred hundreds of dollars in unnecessary repairs.
I was on a ladder around mid-afternoon when a stranger stopped his car, rolled down his window and started to taunt me. “Hey!” he said. “Are you going to wash that whole house by hand?” I yelled back, “Are you going to park there with that dumb look on your face?” Not really! I wanted to be rude, but I kindly explained the situation. He shook his head in disbelief and drove away. Everyone wants to be a critic.
I must admit I understood his reaction. Why would anyone do something as labor intensive as washing a house by hand when he could do the same job in a fraction of the time with a pressure washer?
On a similar, though more serious note, this is why it is hard for some to understand why Christians intentionally put themselves in harm’s way when it would be easier to walk away. When a Christian in a violent corner of the world is ordered to recant his faith at gunpoint, would it be so horrible if he acquiesced and later repented? In a free society where opinions are expected, wouldn’t it be easier to ignore those whose unbelief puts their eternal souls in peril? Why do Christians insist on doing things the hard way?
Jesus’ last two beatitudes help put this behavior in perspective. “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matthew 5:10-12). At the risk of making a believer’s insistence on suffering even more difficult to understand, we must take time to understand why Jesus taught us the hard way might be the best way, if not the only way.