The radio likes hyperbole. I suppose we all do, which is why we listen.
Though I must admit, sometimes the hyperbole makes me a bit crazy.
Bruno Mars is probably the musician who offends me the most in this category. His song Grenade is an emotional diatribe about a girl who broke up with him, even though he would go through absolutely anything for her. The chorus says,
I’d catch a grenade for ya’
Throw my hand on a blade for ya’
I’d jump in front of a train for ya’
You know I’d do anything for ya’
See I would go through all this pain
Take a bullet straight through my brain
Yes, I would die for ya’, baby
But you won’t do the same
Most of us hear that and we get all gooey about it. Because, wow. That’s some kind of serious love. I mean, bullets and grenades – that’s hardcore.
But the truth is, when is Bruno going to be called to take a bullet straight through his brain? Maybe during the zombie apocalypse, but that’s not quite the same thing.
Ultimately, while I appreciate the sentiment of a love filled with grand gestures, they don’t mean much if you don’t help take the trash to the curb on Tuesday nights, or shuttle kids to their various activities, or be willing to curl up on the couch and watch a movie with me.
I believe that you will die for me when you put your socks in the dirty clothes hamper.
As Christians, I think we can often fall into the same hyperbolic trap.
We look at the picture of the cross and we realize that a life has been sacrificed for our own, and we want to give something back.
So we sing songs with lyrics like “take my life” or “I surrender all.” We flip through the pages of our Foxe’s Book of Martyrs and read about people who have given their lives to defend their faith. We sign up for a short-term missions trip and get jazzed about how sacrificial we are.
Don’t get me wrong, those are good things.
But honestly, we probably aren’t going to be asked to give up our lives in any kind of traditional way for our faith. I’m not going to face torture or death because of my beliefs. Truth be told, in America, my faith is probably more of an asset than a liability most of the time.
Where I am going to have to prove my faith is going to be in those daily, insignificant, small ways. I’m going to have to show love by being nice to the person that I disagree with on Facebook. I’m going to have to show love by practicing empathy to those I don’t understand. I’m going to have to show love by staying after church to stack up chairs or clean up bulletins.
Being people of faith can be a beautiful thing. I don’t want to downplay the ways that faith is tested in huge ways. But I also don’t want to downplay the importance of a faith tested in small ways. I want to celebrate the moments when we show up and exhibit grace and mercy in interactions with people with whom we disagree. I want to encourage those who are showing up when they don’t want to. I want to rejoice with those who have been faithful in the little.
I won’t forget those who have thrown themselves on grenades, but I also don’t want to forget the people who have cleaned up the dirty socks.