Post Easter Reflection
A few days before Easter, I posted something on my Facebook and Instagram pages that I knew would irritate and upset many people. I did not think about it too much, but knew it would rub people the wrong way. The message on Facebook was something funny, and just told people not to post pictures of themselves on Easter in pastels with the caption "Happy Easter" because it is very strange every year when I see it. The message on Instagram was more direct and said the following:
Public Service Announcement: For Easter Sunday, please avoid posting pictures of your new outfits with the caption "Happy Easter." The public is unsure whether you are drawing attention to your color coordination, or the resurrection life of Christ. It's weird. Instead, post something that reflects your true gratitude for Easter. It changed human history. Remember, Jesus did not die for the 30 hour sale at Macy's. Looking good on Sunday is dope, but do it for yourself and family. Easter is radical. Your pretty faces with the pinks and yellows are not. You have 4 days to think about it. Should you still choose to post dumb pictures, at least this will be in your conscience. Carry on :-) My friends told me not to post this so I did.
Instant reactions, text messages, direct messages and even e-mails came in as a result. Some of gratitude, and some of disdain. It hit a chord. This post is not to explain myself or talk about the ills of our self-focused culture. But I wanted to highlight something about my own personal need to be liked and accepted.
Everybody wants to be liked. No one wakes up and says I want to be hated on. It is rather easy to be likable. There is an equation of some sort. If you say the right thing, dress the right way, speak in general terms, and act according to social norms, you will be accepted for the most part.
As I reflect on Easter and what it means to live in deep purpose, I have come to certain conclusions that are not popular. Easter does not promise us to live a life that is likable. I am not suggesting a life of martyrdom at all times. But I am questioning our inherent need to be accepted. If I were to be honest, I must say that I very much despise the role of having to say things, and live out values that are extremely unpopular in America. I take no joy in having to say things like I did on social media. But 5 years back, I made a promise to God that I would be true to myself in every regard. I would be true to the point of being disliked. I would be the artist that He wanted me to be, not what genres and celebrity culture asked of me.
It is not fun to the the villain. It is not fun to say things that would make your friends and family wonder if you are talking about them. I take no honor in being "that guy." However, if you find yourself getting along with everyone and never experiencing the offense of your convictions, I would question what you are living for. You do not have to be Kanye or Kobe. You do not have to be so polarizing that you are constantly living in a love/hate relationship with the world. But you should stand for something. This stand will bring some level of persecution, or some degree of sacrifice. I have a problem with how we do whatever it takes to be agreeable. I take deep issue with how we paint ourselves to the world. I am against the falseness. I am against the fake. I am allergic to it. It takes a ton of humility and grace to be willing to be painted as the villain for the sake of truth and love. You have got to be so in line with your calling and purpose that you frankly don't give a damn what people think about you.
On Easter, we celebrate the God who was beaten and brutally murdered for doing nothing wrong. We celebrate the resurrection of the Messiah who was disliked by far more people than liked Him at the time. His own people gave up on Him. His closest allies denied Him. The people that He came for said we don't like you. They spat on Him. They broke Him physically and emotionally. They made Him question His Father's presence and will. The cross represents all our darkest places that Jesus paid the price for. He did it not with applause or acclaim. They didn't dress Him up in pastels. They hated Him and tortured Him. They wanted Him to never exist........But He did. And He Rose.
We will never have to endure like Him. But we will each have our own course. In our small and big ways, we will be disliked. We will have to stay true to ourselves. We will have to not be agreeable. And we will carry our own cross. The world responds to your heroism the same way. But how will the world respond when you become the villain? The light that shines in you does not promise your acceptance - But it promises your redemption.
Peace and love to you - Jeevo.