But these are not jeans...
There was a young man who loved wearing shorts. But then the winter came. The idea of wearing long trousers to school was not well received. For some weeks his parents were unable to get him out of shorts. But eventually, one very frosty morning, of his own accord, he wore a pair of neat hand-me-down long trousers; without even being asked! Sighs of relief from the parents!
Mum congratulated him that evening, and then raised a delicate issue. He had been wearing them back to front all day!
"No I haven't," came the reply. "You look, when I wear them like this, the label is at the back."
Every wise boy knows that the label goes at the back, and no amount of persuading could change his mind. One morning the father put them on the right way and the boy didn't notice for at least ten minutes. But then he immediately pulled off his shoes, and put the trousers back to front the way they should be, with the label at the back!
Mum tried the same trick another morning. (By this time the jeans were the only trousers in the whole school which were wearing holes through at the back of the knees!) As he put his jeans on properly, after discovering her subterfuge, she explained how her jeans didn't have the label at the back. Her jeans had the label up near the front... near the pocket.... like these jeans would if he would only wear them the right way round. The young man sat thinking deeply, pondering over this startling new evidence that HE might be the one who was wrong. He looked down at his prized trousers... the only ones he had worn for weeks!
"But these trousers," he said... "These trousers are not jeans."
And he is still wearing them back to front!
We all of us make our own world. We all make the world the way we would like it to be. And we don't like new things. We don't like things which change the way we see the world, and the way we learned it ought to be. Like the young man with his trousers, we will hang on to our point of view, despite all the evidence to the contrary. And when the evidence becomes overwhelming, we will even call blue jeans brown trousers.
How many disagreements come because we see the world differently. And how many more disagreements get worse because one or both sides won't own up to wearing blue jeans back to front! Jesus came to show us our blue jeans.
"You have heard it said...." he said, "but I say to you...." (Matthew 5, in several places.)
Jesus came to change us, and to help us find and see a new world. Following Jesus means we will forever be asked to see that sometimes the labels are at the front, or even on the side, even though we have learned from our very first trainer pants that the label goes at the back. Following Jesus will make us uncomfortable, and able to take nothing for granted. But we will also be able to see more of the world as it really is, and see even the reality of God. Following Jesus means that at the end of life we won't just have our pants on the right way round. All of us will be turned the right way round, and we will be dressed for heaven.
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