Mr. Glass aka Elijah Price is a villain, created by M. Night Shyamalan, who led a socially recluse life, due to constantly being made fun of as a child. He earned the nickname “Mr. Glass” from classmates who bullied him because of the rare condition he was born with: Type I Osteogensis Imperfecta. This disorder caused his bones to be extremely brittle—meaning they were easily broken.
Osteogenesis Imperfecta (or OI) is a real disorder. At least 5% of people live with symptoms, ranging from mild to severe. Symptoms include having bones that are predisposed to fracture, weak joints, skin that bruises easily, scoliosis, brittle teeth, and even hearing loss. It’s easy to understand why Mr. Glass would stay inside! Someone who lives with this disorder may have a very fragile body.
One of the last things Jesus said to His disciples was, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” Jesus’ commission to His disciples then, and to all disciples now, is to make disciples and teach them to obey Jesus’ commands. He was able to do this because He has the authority to do so. He concluded this statement by saying, “…I am with you always…” So when you take this full statement and move around the pieces, we can do what Jesus commanded, because He is with us and He has the authority.
Let’s say you and me are headed to a party and we were bringing the ice for the cooler. You’re driving, and it’s actually you who signed up to bring the ice, but when we stop at the store, I go inside and buy the ice. I paid for it and I’ve got it on the floor between my feet. But remember, we’re in your car. You’re driving. After we leave the store, the host calls you and you (safely) take the call. Of course, they called you to see if you’ve got the ice, to which you respond, “Yep, I’ve got the ice!”
Did you lie? NO—of course you didn’t. We’re in the car together and we’ve got the ice. Sure, I paid for it, but we’re together, so WE have it. Since you’re driving and you’re the one who got the call, I may be holding it, but you’ve got the ice!
Likewise, Jesus was given all authority and He is with us while we carry out His mission. The way I see it, we’ve got authority too—through Him. And it’s not called The Great Mission. It’s the Great CO-mission. You and Jesus are doing it together.
Since Jesus has delegated us as His agents in the earth, and He is with us—with all that authority, why do so many of us suffer from Christian Type I Osteogenesis Imperfecta? We’ve got fragile bones, weak joints, we bruise at the slightest brush, our backs are bent, our teeth have no bite, and so much of the damage we suffer is because of our poor hearing.
Jesus already said He is with us. He told us people would hate us, due to the aforementioned fact. The Bible tells us that we share in His suffering. All these facts and we still live fictitiously. All of this knowledge and we act like we ain’t know. All this authority and we act like the only way to do God’s will is to take on the characteristics of Mr. Glass rather than Christ.
Reminder: Mr. Glass was a villain.
I am concerned that we, as Christ followers, have become a bit too fragile. Not every cross word is an offense. Not every adverse action is an attack. In this, the year of our Lord two-thousand and twenty, I have seen churches claim that their “rights” to assemble were being stifled… in the middle of a pandemic—when everyone has had to change the way we interact.
First of all, nobody said we can’t worship God. No one said we can’t follow Jesus. They just said you can’t fill your buildings up and breathe heavily all over each other. Yet, rather than thinking of others, too often we only think about how we are impacted. When we’re so focussed on ourselves and our personal rights, not only are we more likely to miss opportunities to meet the needs of others (which we should all be looking to do), we set ourselves up for an increase in encounters with disappointment.
When you couple disappointment with the entitlement so many of us carry, the result is a fragility comparable to that of Mr. Glass. Entitlement elevates our disappointment to the point where we may begin to feel as though we are victims of the personal life choices of people who we aren’t even personally connected to.
How fragile and entitled do you have to be to be upset about what other people do in their personal spaces? How do we manage to get so offended and bent out of shape by people interpreting a passage of scripture differently than we have learned to? What type of spirituality can we really have all by ourselves, when we have opted out of church community because of what people who are not God may have said or done?
Should Christians be concerned about sin? Yes… OURS! Many of us have become so fragile that we can’t even be confronted on our own sin. When our life choices (which actually do impact those around us) get brought up, we get into a defensive stance and want to play tit for tat with the faults we find in others. We cannot live out the lives or carry out the missions God has placed in us if we are constantly stumbling at every opportunity to take offense.
I did a word study and found that the original word used for ‘offense’ in the New Testament is the same one where we get the term “stumbling block.” It paints the picture of having something put in our way to cause us to trip and… stumble.
Let me take a moment to point out this irony, that: it seems whenever we are confronted with the question, “Why you trippin’?” It’s usually posed by the very person who put something out there for us to stumble over to begin with. But that’s another topic for another day… lol
Digging a little deeper… the root word adds a little more texture to the meaning of offense. The picture is further detailed to describe an offense as a snare—as bait for a trap. So when we tap into our fragility and allow ourselves to become offended, we’re literally falling for a trap. We took the bait.
Even still, not everything we get offended by was a trap set for us. Sometimes we trip over things we had ample opportunity to move around. Rather than living in such a fragile state, I want to offer an option that connects with what I shared in my last post.
Ephesians 6:10 | “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.”
We don’t have to be taken out by bumps and bruises, real or imagined. We don’t have to suffer broken bones at the slightest perceived offense. There is strength we can stand in that will allow us to fight the real battles and face the legitimate challenges that are present around us and certain to come in the future… because even the things that shake us don’t have to leave us shattered.
Keith Goosby II is the founding minister of NET Church. He has served in ministry for over 20 years, in various capacities–including music, social media management, teaching, preaching, consulting, and leadership. Keith’s first church experience as a child was a home church. Since then, he has attended and served at churches sizing from just a few to over 10,000–of various denominations and affiliations. As NET Church is being planted, Keith continues to serve at his Dallas home church, Golden Gate MBC, in Dallas, TX, under the leadership of Minister Vincent T. Parker. Keith is married and currently lives in the Dallas area with his wife and three sons.