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Safety is relative

June 8, 2011
This Path is Uneven

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We spend a lot of time thinking about our personal safety.

It’s not safe to play with matches.

It’s not safe to drive over the speed limit.

It’s not safe to get on an airplane without screening passengers through a metal detector.

It’s not safe to ride a bus alone at night.

It’s not safe to park drive in that part of town.

It’s not safe to hitchhike or pick up hitchhikers.

I wonder if we are confusing safety with wisdom. It’s sometimes less dangerous for me to fly into the middle of a war-torn country than it is for me to drive my car on the interstate. However, wisdom would mean not walking through a war-torn country without a guide or driving without a license.

We take risks with our lives every day. Sometimes simply climbing out of bed is a risk. If you’re living and breathing, you’re taking a risk in your personal safety.

Doing your best to keep yourself personally safe is fine, as long as it doesn’t interfere with your ability to love well. If you are more worried about taking a risk than loving a person well, then you’ve missed the point. As a follower of Jesus the Christ, I’d say you’ve missed the point of the gospel. If you don’t follow Jesus, then I’d say you’ve missed the point of a full life.

We can use wisdom and instinct when it comes to personal safety, those are good things. However, I challenge myself and I challenge you to think a little deeper the next time you say the words “that’s not safe”.

Is it really unsafe, or are you letting fear control your chance to love well?

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. June 9, 2011 8:23 pm

    Love is the absolute most unsafe thing in the universe. Loving someone implies the holy horror of them not loving you back, or rejecting you. Love compels us to respond. Love compels us to not look for anything in return. Counter intuitive to our humanity. Don’t even get me started about loving God. That is a great way to ruin an otherwise it’s-all-about-me kind of day.

    There is absolutely nothing safe about following Jesus the Christ (I’m intrigued about why you phrased it that way because not many people do. Mad props). C.S. Lewis nailed it in regard to Aslan. God is so very good, yet unsafe. And somehow, we Christians have embraced comfortability in religion instead of running barefoot along side “the wild one whose image we bear” -John Eldredge

    Safe is relative yes, some one who has been through a trauma most def. wants to feel safe. Yet, we yearn for the most unsafe thing. Love. The mysterious, inexplainable, dangerous thing that excites us and compels us to truly become alive and not be controlled by fear. Without fear, all you have left is love.

    Dang, sorry this is so long. Peace.

    • kylajoyful permalink*
      June 9, 2011 9:59 pm

      Yes, that was a long comment, but a worthy one. Thanks for contributing, Jermaine. I appreciate that you pointed out that someone who has been through a trauma wants to feel safe. I really don’t have much more to say to your comment other than that I really appreciate it. Also: have you heard of the Wild Goose Festival? It’s not too late to register and I think you’d enjoy it.

  2. Jenny permalink
    June 8, 2011 2:31 pm

    I think those things absolutely can be unsafe. But I don’t remember God instructing us to ‘be safe.’ He did however call us to love, trust, and obey.

    • kylajoyful permalink*
      June 8, 2011 2:38 pm

      This reminds me of C.S. Lewis’ *Lion, Witch, and the Wardrobe*, when one of the children asks a new friend about Aslan, “Is he safe?” The response: “Safe? Of course he isn’t safe. But he is good.” I may have misquoted a bit, but that’s how I remember it!

  3. June 8, 2011 10:35 am

    Glad you wrote about this! I think about this a lot. Christians put a lot of time into “being safe.” Safe does not equal submission, taking up a cross, going into all the world, loving others, etc. I agree we miss the point so often. I like your closing question.

    • kylajoyful permalink*
      June 8, 2011 11:11 am

      Thanks, Bethany. I’m thinking about your use of the word submission. I hadn’t thought of that word, and I like how it gives a picture of someone taking a step back and not participating.

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