Calling All Christian Losers

knight-778087_640Remember peer pressure?

Yeah, it’s back. And it’s not just for young people any more.

For a country founded on free speech, we’ve taken quite a swerve. We’ve become a nation of people afraid to express opinions considered unfashionable by the masses. Many would rather compromise their freedom than be considered intolerant, prejudiced, or discriminating. Three modern “sins” rapidly forming an eighth ring in a twisted upgrade of Dante’s hell.

Intolerance, prejudice, and discrimination are, of course, wrong and unhealthy for a society but the redefinition of these words to describe any application of judgment or discernment whatsoever is sending crowds of young adults, like lemmings, over the cliff of ridiculousness into the sea of the absurd. Consider this video circulating around the web today of a Caucasian man interviewing college students and insisting he’s a 6’5” Chinese woman. Their response will, appropriately, frighten you.

I’m afraid I have some news that will likely not be news to most of you – Christians are going to have to adjust to disappointing large segments of our own social circles. We’re going to have to adapt to making people uncomfortable when we voice our views. We’re going to have to get comfortable, loved ones, with being society’s losers. In the very near future (or is it now?), we will be the Goofus to other’s Gallant. We will experience a level of unpopularity unknown in most of our lifetimes.

Why do I predict this phenomenon? Because Christians are truth-tellers. It’s what we do. But popular society has ended its constraining relationship with the truth and run off with this handsome, charming dude known as “whatever everyone wants to hear.”

This isn’t such a terrible turn of events, though, since Jesus called us to be losers long ago. Most of us, (well, I know I do), tend to gloss over those passages in favor of brighter proclamations such as Romans 8:37 where Paul says we are more than conquerors. That’s a passage I want permanently inked onto my frontal lobe while I try to erase Mathew 16:24-26 from my memory: “Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?

Losers for Jesus. Not a winning evangelistic slogan. Sounds like the “cooler and warmer” fiasco dreamed up by the New York firm hired to make the other states love Rhode Island.

It was a 2001 movie that finally helped me appreciate this passage. One of my guilty pleasures is a campy Heath Ledger flick called, A Knight’s Tale. In it, William Thatcher, the peasant who dreams of changing his stars, not only impersonates a knight but falls in love with the elusive noblewoman, Jocelyn. When William proclaims his love to Jocelyn, he announces to her that he will win all the next day’s jousts in her honor but Jocelyn is no fool. She calls him out on this gesture saying that if he wins, he wins for himself, not for her. If he is to prove his love to her, he will make a choice against his own interest. In fact, if he wants to prove his love to her, he must lose his jousts in her name.

William does lose his bouts to prove his love but in the end, he wins it all – the girl, the tournament, and a knighthood. He lost a few battles but it wasspectacular-knight-216665_640 all in the effort to win the war. Likewise, Christians need to be willing to lose what seem like some really important battles, to make choices against our own interest, to love not our own lives (or reputations, or comfort, or certain friendships, or social status) even to death, in our stand against evil.

Revelation 12:11 marries the two ideas “And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.” We are more than conquerors but sometimes we conquer by losing.

While He hung on the cross and then was sealed inside a tomb, Jesus looked like He had lost. We know the truth – that He had conquered sin and death. To follow Him is to also face looking like losers for a time. Do you love Jesus enough to lose in His name? The answer may become apparent as early as lunch tomorrow at the office or during the discussion in your college classroom or when your friend posts that compromising status and you see all your other friends agreeing with a lie.

There’s nothing romantic about being a loser. Ask William Thatcher. Losing left him battered and bruised but in losing, he conquered his own ego and Jocelyn’s heart in one dramatic swoop. We already have God’s heart and we have another advantage. Jesus promises to give us the strength we need to lose.

How about you? Are you ready to do your part in this great war for souls by losing?

**I’d love to meet as many of you in person as God allows. Have you checked out my speaking pages? I’d love to visit your group (no group is too small – I’m from Rhode Island to I understand small!) Contact me and lets start a conversation about scheduling a visit to your group.

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1 Comment

    The Conversation

  1. Melanie Gibson says:

    This has been very thought provoking – thank you, Lori. I do have a tendency to suddenly open my mouth and tell the truth as I see it. The trick seems to be discerning where that is really coming from. If it is out of my own ego because I am tired, hungry, or otherwise irritated I end up feeling bad about myself later; but if God is using me to say something I am barely aware of it sometimes and do not even feel bad later if others get defensive, just sorry for them. Then if it does turn out to be really me I have to be careful not to let Satan tell me what a horrible person I am and how I should just always stay in my apartment by myself and not bother anybody.