We humans are a fascinating lot, aren’t we? This was my thought as I finished my workout earlier today. Fascinating because we come up with so many ways to separate ourselves from each other, label each other, seek out the differences in each other. When the truth is, at our core…
We’re really all the same.
We’re all a mixed bag of beauty and brokenness, hope and fear, faith and doubt, strength and fragility, love and selfishness. We are connected to each other by our shared and flawed humanity, by our inability to outmaneuver death, by our failure to find significance on our own. And yet we keep coming up with all of these categories to sever these connections and isolate ourselves in ways that are intended to make us feel unique but only seem lead us into pride, anger, loneliness.
Prideful, angry, lonely people. Humble, tender, fulfilled people. Always weaving in and out and through these realities, all at the same time.
We’re all the same.
This is one of the things that is so compelling about the gospel. It affirms the uniqueness of the individual’s soul while at the same time observing and affirming our common struggle. The gospel says we’re all a mess and in our very bones we know this to be true, whether we’d ever admit it or not. The gospel says death is inevitable and we are powerless to do anything about it on our own. The gospel reminds us all of our best efforts to create a fulfilling and happy life for ourselves are futile and doomed to fail. And as we reflect on the chaos and pain those efforts have caused, we are forced to surrender to the overwhelming weight of the evidence.
Every other faith system says there are differences, categories, scales. They claim you can earn a more favorable position with God in comparison to others, that God will love you more than less faithful people if you say the right things, do the right things, believe the right things. But what about the times when we don’t say the right things, don’t do the right things, and waver in our beliefs? And what about the times when all off those things are happening all at once?
I need someone who isn’t a mess to do something about my mess. I need someone who ventured into the darkness of death and returned triumphant. Like that scene in Rudyard Kipling’s Rikki-Tikki-Tavi where the mongoose follows Nagaina the evil cobra down into her hole and against all hope emerged from the ground, with the good news the evil snake of the garden had been destroyed, that life and peace and freedom were finally restored to their proper place. I need someone who can show me why I was created and how my life was meant to be lived.
The gospel names that someone.
I need Him. You need Him. We all need Him.
We’re all the same.
Messy, incapable, insecure. Confident, talented, breathtaking.
All of us infinitely and eternally loved by God.