No. It isn’t.
Over the last couple of weeks we have been forced to acknowledge the reality that our world is not safe. Stuebenville. Gosnell. Boston. And that’s just America. It gets exponentially more unsafe in other parts of the world.
As Americans we place a high value on safety. It is a luxury few in the world have. But for us this luxury has become an assumption. We drive on our streets, go to work, and go into public places assuming we will be safe. Which isn’t a bad thing. Safety, a luxury for some, should be had by all.
Considering the rest of the world, those in America should acknowledge the safety we enjoy. I do not wake up fearing the day or even other people. I don’t have to. Because of where I live I assume this luxury will always be there. We all do. So it is interesting to watch how we respond as a society to those moments when the charlatan idol of safety is exposed for what it is: An illusion. We cry out for it when we feel it has left us. We throw money at it trying to entice it to return. We enact more laws and policies to protect it. In other words, we work hard to build a bigger and better illusion. For all our efforts, we will never escape the brutal truth.
The world isn’t safe.
Even the best things in the world are not safe. Think about love. Love, true love, in which you offer all of who you are to another person is inherently unsafe. Love carries with it an immense amount of emotional risk. Because to really love someone is to vulnerably place yourself before them and risk their rejection. When you give a person access to the deepest part of your being you do so embracing the possibility that they hurt you more than any other, but hoping beyond hope they don’t. But that risk is also what makes love so beautiful. We are attracted to vulnerability. When we see a person being truly authentic we are encouraged – literally “having courage put in” us – to be authentically vulnerable ourselves. A belief wells up inside us that we are indeed strong enough to be rejected. Those who have been lucky enough to be in a room with people who embrace vulnerability and see it spread like wildfire from person to person long to have more of those moments in their life.
But that doesn’t make it safe.
The Christian worldview acknowledges the unsafe nature of the world. Sin. Brokenness. Fracture. Choose whatever terminology you prefer, the reality is the same: The creation groans in the vacuum of shalom. The world is not as it should be. Humanity is not what it should be.
Too many Christians have bought into the illusion of safety baptizing this American longing with putrid theology. God does not promise us safety. God promises security. Looking at Jesus we see the chasm that separates these two ideas. Jesus was completely secure in the arms of the Father, but was unsafe in the hands of humans. Jesus was secure in his identity as the Son of God, but was unsafe because of his obedience as son. Jesus was secure in his mission, but was unsafe in what his mission called him to.
The same security that rooted Jesus to the Father is the security that is offered to us. Christians often think of their eternal security when it comes to salvation. Security doesn’t begin after death. Security reminds us that even in the unsafe world we are secure in the arms of the Father. This idea has propelled countless followers of Jesus in to unsafe situations.
We may long for the world to be safe. One day it will be. But for now, it will not be. Now the world doesn’t need to be safe. The world needs secure people willing to be unsafe.