“Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.” Luke 11:23
These words of Jesus are embedded in many of his teachings of Jesus. In many ways, this single sentence can stand alone as an important Christian truth. Specifically, it tells us that we cannot be neutral in our position regarding Jesus and all that he has taught us. This is an important message in the world today.
In this modern era, there seems to be a growing secular value that we might call “neutrality.” We are told by many in the world that we must accept any morality, any lifestyle, and any choice that others make. And though as an inclusive church, it is true that we must always love and accept every person and treat them with the utmost dignity and respect. It is not true that we should be neutral to the choices and secular values that some choose to live and express. Sadly, when we do speak the full truth, especially the many moral truths our Lord has revealed, we are often labelled as judgmental. But this is not the truth.
This quote above from today’s Gospel makes it clear that we cannot remain indifferent to the teachings of our Lord and still remain in his good graces. In fact, Jesus makes it clear that the opposite is true. He says that if we are not with him, meaning if we do not accept all that he has revealed, then we are, in fact, against him. Being neutral on faith and morality matters is not being neutral at all. It’s a choice that some make that has the clear effect of separating them from Jesus.
For example, regarding matters of faith, if someone were to say, “I do not believe in the Eucharist,” then they are, in fact, rejecting God. And though it is not our duty to be their judge, it is our duty to acknowledge that they have expressed a belief contrary to the truth. They are in error, and if they persist in this error, then they do separate themselves from God. That’s what Jesus is saying.
The same is true regarding morality. There are many examples in the moral life that are becoming more and more blatant in their opposition to our Lord’s teaching. Thus, we must remind ourselves that when we reject a moral teaching given to us by our Lord, we reject Jesus himself.
Jesus goes even further when he says that “whoever does not gather with me scatters.” In other words, it’s not enough to simply personally believe all that Jesus taught, we must also teach it to others. If we do not and if we, instead, offer a false form of “acceptance” of another’s error, then we are actually working against Jesus. We all have a moral duty to actively promote the truths of the Gospel given to us by our Lord.
Take a moment to think about how fully you are “with” our Lord and “gather” with him. Do you fully accept all that he has taught and also seek to gather many others for the Kingdom of God? If you do not see yourself actively believing in and participating in the mission of our Lord, then heed these words of Jesus and allow them to gently but firmly challenge you so that you will more fully work to build up God’s Kingdom in your own heart and in the world all around you.