That woman is selfish. That church is all about the money. That kid is a brat. That man is evil.
But here’s the truth – it really is never that simple, right?
We are each capable of honor and beauty, love and glory, to an extent that is a preview of heaven. And we are each capable of terrible evil that is absolutely deserving of the fires of hell. We are a glorious chaotic mix of contradictions, moving towards one end of the spectrum or the other.
We know this about ourselves, so we enter the world defensive and self-protective from the start. We desperately want people to see the depths of good in us, but we want to hide the weakness and darkness. We expect the world to believe the best in us, and yet we instinctively assume the worst in people around us – especially people who are different.
When you study history – you see this common theme of fear and distrust of people who are different – a willingness to assume the absolute worst of anyone we don’t understand. It is the basis of quarrels, war and genocide, racism, sexism and ageism. It is the common evil of humanity – a rush to judgment and an instinctive need to position ourselves as better than others.
What if, for just a few moments, we could turn that off? What if we could, in humility, realize our weaknesses, sins, struggles, and darkness while we see the beauty, light, glory, and goodness of others?
What if we didn’t compete? What if we didn’t judge the character of people around us based on the one negative thing we know about them?
We’d be free, right?
We’d be more loving.
We’d be like Christ.
He was the only perfect man – yet somehow He was also the only man who truly considered others before Himself. He somehow saw something in us worth fighting for – worth dying for. Despite our darkness. He didn’t have a dark side, but while we put Him to death, He willingly took on the sin and darkness hidden in our hearts. While we put Him to death He loved. He made himself nothing to save us from the judgment and death we deserve, dying a brutal death like a common thief. And when He rose from the dead defeating death, He opened the door for us to be righteous. We, too, could share not only in His glory for all eternity, but in His humility here on earth. We too, with the power of Christ in us, can put others before ourselves.
Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross! -Phil 2
So I think we have a choice as we interact with the people in our world. We can continue the broken, evil, human cycle of judgment and self-protection. Or we can, only by the power of Christ, give grace, love, dignity, and respect to others. Even to people who, in our estimation or our inherently flawed judgment, don’t deserve it.
Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Not for this girl.
Come Jesus Come. I need You to change me.
By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. John 13:35