Stanley Hauerwas on Securing Our Lives & Self-Sacrifice

Friends,

I have been enjoying Stanley Hauerwas’ fine theological commentary on Matthew. It seems that on every page I find something that I say, “Yes,” to. It’s my first in depth reading of Hauerwas and I suppose to be fair I should read some more of his work.

Nevertheless, here’s another of those paragraphs that really stood out to my mind and the current revolution my faith is undergoing:

Scripture is the weapon of truth that enables those who follow Jesus to disarm the powers by exposing their lies and deceit. Christians are not without defense, having been given God’s word to shield us from our delusions that are the source of our violence.

Jesus, however, is clear. Attempts to secure our lives through the means offered by the world are doomed to failure. If we are to find our lives, it seems, we must be prepared to lose our lives. But this is not a general recommendation meaning that we should learn unselfishness–even unselfishness that may cost our lives–for the life we must be willing to lose is the life lost ‘for my sake,’ that is, for Jesus. Self-sacrifice, often justified in the name of family or country, can too easily be tyrannical. The language of sacrifice is often used by those in power for perverse ends. Jesus does not commend the loss of self as a good in and of itself. He demands that we follow him because he alone has the right to ask for our lives.

Too often Christianity in our time is justified as a way of life that leads to stability and order. ‘The family that prays together stays together’–but such sentiments cannot help but lead to an idolatry of the family.–109

There’s more, but I don’t want to spoil all the fun. Get the book and have a good read. It is necessary and important that Christians do understand the hard nature of the life of a Jesus follower. Consider well.

Soli Deo Gloria!

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