“Whoever is not with me is against me”
– Jesus (Matthew 12:30)
Jesus says his work is so important, so polar, so vital, that anyone not actively embracing is actually working against him.
This seems so over the top. How can anyone following keep up?
But then he says something else. He says that “whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man [me] will be forgiven.”
In other words, his followers will mess up (big, and often), but it’ll be okay.
Balancing standards with grace is a difficult concept for us—for me—to understand.
On the one hand, the standard is high. Impossibly high. On the other hand, do-your-best seems to be okay.
The question left is, what’s my best? How do I know when I’m following Jesus’ standard? And what exactly is it, given the above?
Jesus foresaw this question, too. “But,” he keeps going, “whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.”
On its face, this seems like worse news. But it’s not. It’s really a good thing.
Because it’s the spirit that guides, and that speaks. It’s the spirit that becomes our conscience. And it’s the spirit who helps us find right and wrong.
And so we follow the Spirit’s leading. Because, by doing that, we’re following Jesus.