We would have been different
They protested that they would not have helped murder the prophets if they had lived in those days, just as we might protest that we would not have acted like the Pharisees if we had lived in the time of Christ. Likewise, we might protest that we would not have acted like the Nazi guards in the concentration camps or like the traitors to the faith during the ancient Roman persecutions. We would have been one of the good guys.
Self-justifying thoughts, pious words, and grand gestures are easy – seriously living the faith of Christ is hard.
We dare not fool ourselves. To echo a line from a movie, the same weakness flows in our veins that flowed in the veins of the scribes, the Pharisees, the ancient mobs, the apostates, and the Nazi conscripts: the same fallen human nature.
We need God’s grace to be strong enough to be honest about our sinfulness and our need to be cleansed by that grace of all the hypocrisy, evildoing, filth and death within us. We need God’s grace to be strong enough to stand up for our faith, to stand against the world, to stand against today’s culture, to stand against popular opinion, and even to stand against the ways of the people we live and work with everyday.
It is easy to imagine ourselves as being the good guys in times gone by. It is much less easy – but it is necessary – for us to be heroes for the faith right here and right now.
Lord Jesus, be merciful to me, a sinner, and give me the grace to be different, to be true to You.