Like the rest of mankind
Us versus them. We’re right; you’re wrong. They’re bad; we’re good. We’re all about reason; you’re mentally insane.
There are a lot of lines being drawn these days, lines meant to distinguish the morally superior from the bigoted, racist, selfish, greedy rest of us. Condemnations and separations abound. Some lines are clearer and more well-defined: spraying bullets into a crowd of innocent people is evil; respecting and caring for all people is good. Others are less recognized and more ambiguous. Where is the line on gun control or immigration? Or abortion. Is everyone on the wrong side who has reservations about banning or allowing?
These are turbulent times regularly marked by the dastardly deeds of a few and the self-righteous censures of many. If you’re not being accused of being on the wrong side of right, then you probably have been all but silent and next to invisible. (If something is invisible, how do you know if you’re next to it?)
But as horrible, despicable, and tragic are the events that have us crying out for justice or retribution, at least they give us the opportunity to feel comparatively righteous. That’s a pretty easy line to draw. I’m no murderer, thief, terrorist, or gun-loving, fetus-worshipping, homophobic xenophobe. Therefore, if those are the bad guys, I must be one of the good ones.
But you know what? That line is always drawn with disappearing ink. And there’s another line, this one in permanent marker, that none of us ever sees because we never get even close to it. It’s the line that divides the truly good, from everyone else. And there’s only One on the other side of it from you and me.
This line not only divides the bad from the good but the dead from the living. We’re all like zombies on this side of the divide. . .stumbling through this existence as if we’re alive but in essence we are not. Our failure to be truly, consistently, perfectly good has rendered our souls as dead. . .from the dearest saint to the deadliest sinner. Zombies.
Says who? you may ask. Says the one who made both our bodies and our souls. But get this. . .he loves and wants you, dead or alive. And what’s more, he has the power to erase permanent marker, and you know how impossible that is.
At Christmas we celebrate the incarnation of this lover of your soul and mine. Jesus Christ was born to die, so that we might live. When we believe in and surrender our lives to him he makes us new. He makes us alive. We become partakers of his divine nature and quite miraculously find ourselves on the other side of the line because we are alive in him.
There is no greater divide than that which separates us from God. If that’s the way you like it, that’s the way he’ll leave it be. But if you want life, he has made a way to cross the divide and be separated instead from the rest of mankind.
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. – Ephesians 2:1-3