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You claim to be a follower of Jesus.  And life is complicated.  You’re tired of the pastor saying things you disagree with about what it means to follow Jesus. What does he/she know anyway?  He/she lives in a bubble, not in the real world.

Looking for a list of situations of when it’s ok to put Jesus aside?  When it’s ok to not follow Jesus?  Look no further.  I have spent hours and hours of time compiling a list for you.  All from the best sources – words from Christians, people who claim to follow Jesus on when it’s ok to not follow Jesus.  Without any further ado, here goes:

  • When you are attacked.  Of course it’s ok to put Jesus aside in this instance and strike back.  It’s not like Jesus said to turn the other cheek.  That’s just crazy.  You could get hurt or even die.  Plus that whole turn the cheek thing is for other people, not you.
  • When you come across someone who is clearly wrong.  On any subject.  You can certainly put Jesus aside here.  Jesus was obviously more concerned with right belief and compliance, and getting your act together before following him.  Plus, you are the authority on what is right anyway.  Everyone knows that Jesus comes to you for the answers.  There couldn’t possibly be another way to looking at a situation or issue and coming to a different conclusion?  There’s only one way and you have it.  Why would Jesus want someone who’s clearly wrong following him?  That would make him look pretty bad.  Plus it would get kind of crowded – you don’t like crowds, and you can’t imagine Jesus does either.
  • When you come across the poor/homeless/prostitutes/victim of human trafficking/etc. It’s not like Jesus spent time with these people!  No way Jesus wants you to be uncomfortable or inconvenienced by these people.  They are just lazy after all.  And smell.  You might get dirty or something.  And of course these people are violent and might steal from you.  Instead, throw them a dollar and tell them to get a damn job.  That’s definitely the Jesus way.
  • When you come across someone from another country – especially an immigrant, or even better, an asylum seeker.  These damn foreigners are going to kill our country.  It’s completely fine to not follow Jesus with these vermin.  They are just going to be an infestation in our land, taking our jobs, and stealing all our government welfare.  They are going to use our health care.  They are going to rape our women and kill us all.  Damn foreigners.  No way that Jesus would want us to treat them like ourselves.  No way.  They aren’t even people, they are just illegals.  Send them back to their own shithole country.  It’s not like Jesus and his family ever fled for their lives to a foreign country.  Or went into a shithole like Samaria where the people hated Jews.  He was just trying to make Israel great again, not expand the kingdom to outsiders.
  • When you are dealing with an enemy.  Yes, we know that Jesus said to love your enemy, but really?  Do you really think he meant that?  By love your enemy he clearly meant to nuke the assholes and wipe them off the face of the earth.  Then we could have peace.  Peace, after all, is the absence of enemies – once we’ve killed them.  God is on our side anyway, so that trumps whatever Jesus said, right?   Besides, national security is God ordained.  Anyone who doesn’t care about it should just leave.
  • When dealing with someone who is different from yourself.  Jesus was a working white guy from the US after all, so we know that he was just like us.  He only spoke English.  I know this because I’ve read the King James Version of the Bible – the original authorized Bible.
  • When dealing with someone in the opposing political party or anything political at all. Jesus was all about scoring political points and making his political opponents look like the schmucks that they were.  Children of God – Ha!  Children should be seen and not heard, don’t you know.  And those damn (Democrats/Republicans) act like a bunch of babies.  They are more interested in destroying the country anyway.  Plus, what did Jesus have to say about politics anyway?  He was just a nice preacher who never made anyone feel uncomfortable – unlike your pastor.  The guy/gal won’t shut up about politics and injustice.  Politics and religion don’t mix.  There’s no way that God wants to say anything controversial or upset the status quo.  Besides, even Jesus said “render unto Caesar that which is Caesars.”  That means you can have whatever political beliefs you want – Jesus doesn’t want to have a say in politics.  It’s not like the church is trying to change the world.  It’s more like a country club.
  • When dealing with money.  It’s not like Jesus ever talked about money and what it should be used for.  You earned it, you determine what to do with it – all of it.  God should feel lucky to get any of it.  It’s like another damn tax – a God tax.  I don’t want to pay the bills of the church.  The pastor only works on Sundays anyway.  What the hell does he (she – God forbid there be a female pastor) do anyway?  Why isn’t he/she checking in on my more often?  That lazy pastor.  We ought to get rid of him and get someone who will do all the ministry, bring in more people, find more money, do all the visitation, stay away from controversial topics, and make you feel good.  We pay him/her too much anyway.  I only want my money going directly to ministry, not paying salaries.  I’m not sure how that ministry will happen without staff, but that’s beside the point.  The staff should be happy they are getting anything.  It they want to be well paid, they should work for something like a video game company that makes violent video games, not a non-profit or church that are trying to make a positive impact in people’s lives.  Seriously?  What does the pastor think the church is about anyway – making disciples and following what Jesus said?  Yeah right!  It’s about me and my well-being.  That’s what I pay him/her for.
  • When dealing with our own safety.  Jesus doesn’t want us to be unsafe.  Jesus understands our fears.  It’s not like Jesus said to pick up the thing that will kill us and carry it.  No, Jesus said to pick up a gun and follow him.  We have to be able to protect ourselves after all.  And that means we have to mistrust people.  Especially anyone we don’t know, looks different, sounds different, looks at us strangely, walks near our property.  Jesus really said pick up your crossbow and follow him.  The editor missed the end of that.

I’m sure I’ve missed a few exceptions – times when it’s ok to not follow Jesus as a self-proclaimed follower of Jesus.  The above lists are actual arguments, with actual language that has been used (and a few exaggerations, but based on truth) I’ve heard related to these topics – so Christ-like, isn’t it?  Christ radiates out of all of these sentiments, doesn’t he?  Maybe we can redo the words of the old hymn – “They will know we are Christians by how we ignore Jesus, how we ignore Jesus.  Yes, they will know we Christians by how we ignore Jesus!” Needs a little work, I admit, but you get the sentiment.

When you compile this list, you’ll see that in reality being a follower of Jesus is pretty easy.   There really aren’t a whole lot of times or situations when you need to actually follow Jesus and his way.  It’s not like Jesus is asking you to drop everything and follow him with your whole life.  Geesh!  Actually when you look at what’s left, I think the only time you need to follow Jesus is when you are by yourself, feeling happy, have no worries and aren’t bothered by anyone else.  So about 1% of your time.  Unless you want to follow Jesus in your sleep too.  That jumps the time right up to 25-33% of your day right there.

Of course, if we claim to follow Jesus, then are there exceptions?  No.  The above arguments are as empty as they sound.  They are statements of faith though – faith in something else besides Jesus.  Sorry to burst your bubble on this – actually, I’m not sorry to state this obvious fact at all.  I guess I’m one of those pesky pastors people complain about.  If we claim to be a follower of Jesus, then that means we follow Jesus.  Always.  Especially in difficult situations.  There aren’t exceptions.  Exceptions mean that we think Jesus is full of it, when it comes down to it.  Why would you follow a way of someone you either don’t trust or don’t really believe?  That’s what we are saying when we make excuses for ignoring what Jesus says about difficult situations, enemies, money, and more.

Here are some other’s who had the same belief.

Another of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, first let me go and bury my father.’ But Jesus said to him, ‘Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.’

(Matthew 8:21-22)

Another said, ‘I will follow you, Lord; but let me first say farewell to those at my home.’ Jesus said to him, ‘No one who puts a hand to the plough and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.’

(Luke 9:61-62)

If your faith is only a guide for you in easy, simple, and peaceful times, then what good is it?  If it doesn’t guide you in difficult times, then why bother?  If following Jesus doesn’t make a demand on your life and isn’t costly, then why bother?  If it doesn’t change your life, then what is worth?  If following Jesus isn’t worth following in difficult situations and times, then do you believe that Jesus knows best?  Do you believe that Jesus is your salvation?  Do you believe that Jesus will be with you?  Or do you think that Jesus will abandon you in times of trial, so you have to go another way?

We’re moving into difficult times.  Now is the time for faith – faith that will guide our steps.  Faith that will guide our lives.  Faith that will sustain us.  Faith that will save us – not from trials, but will walk with us in these trails.  Faith that doesn’t need exceptions.  Following Jesus way does that.  Especially in difficult times.  Everything else is lacking.