“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” John 3:16-17 (NIV)
A couple of years ago, my wife and I started a basic fort in the back yard for my oldest son Kyle. It was nothing more than a PVC frame and a camouflage roof. To look at it, you wouldn’t think much, but when Kyle saw it, his imagination exploded. He saw potential for the greatest fort ever. That vision seemed to consume him. He was always looking for scrap wood, rope, nails, really anything that he could get his hands on to transform this frame into something great. It amazes me how much time and energy we will put into something when we see potential and when it is something we care about.
Recently, I have been really pondering sin, and darkness, and how far we really have fallen. Our world is so full of sin that we hardly notice its effects. It is only when the most horrific of events takes place that we even bat an eye. The effects of sin are so common that we often take for granted that the vast majority of our time and energy is spent in trying to protect ourselves from the repercussions of sin.
As I considered this, I considered just how passionate God really is. The creation that was to bear His image severed their relationship through sin. Humanity continued to degrade in our relationship with God and continued to bring new depths of suffering and darkness into the world. Yet, even in our darkest moment, God saw a potential in us that even we seem unable see.
For all our faults, God never gave up. He pursued us and prepared the way. Then Jesus took on flesh and entered this dark world. He had but one purpose, to give witness to the truth of God. His passion was born from His love for all of mankind. His passion drove Him to the cross, where the very people He came to save executed Him in hatred. He created a means of atonement and set up the Church to reach every person in the world with His love.
So, how sad is it that so many today have written others off as lost causes? Even many churches claim that some cannot be saved and are destined for condemnation. Many Christians have such a deep hatred for enemies that they actually hope for God’s judgement upon them. Some refuse to speak of a certain group in any way that puts a human face on them because they fear that they may be swayed to act compassionately. Dehumanization has caused us to lose empathy, love, and passion for others; after all, we may think, there is nothing there worth investing in.
There are hardly two things more antithetical to Jesus than considering some without hope and dehumanizing them in order to justify our apathy. Jesus both loves all of mankind and desires to have them built up so that their full potential can be reached.
We should constantly seek to be the people who care so much about the rest of humanity that we refuse to fall into the trap of dehumanizing them for any reason. We should intentionally seek to know the depths of people—with all personal fears aside—so that we can empathize and love them. We should desire to be a people who are so passionate about building others up, to expose their full potential, that it consumes our entire existence. Then, and only then, will we truly benefit our world. Then, and only then, will we truly be acting like Christ.
Grafted by His Grace,
Pastor Raul Granillo