In yesterday’s article, we considered the common ground that each of us have with each other: the common ground of being sinful, fallen human beings.
However, once we find this common ground as humanity, we’re still in kind of a rough situation. Misery may love company, and we might be able to make incremental progress in our individual lives (and, by extension, in society as a whole) if we admitted our shortcomings and sought to address them together. Still, we’d be imperfect, and would fall short of finding our true purpose, as defined by our holy and righteous Creator. We’d be better, but would still lack hope for eternity. We would know why we aren’t in a good relationship with a perfect, holy God, but we couldn’t do anything about it.
Praise be to God that this good news / bad news situation has one more step: the ultimate Good News, which is the gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus not only offers us salvation from the penalty of our sins, but He also offers us the Holy Spirit to guide and comfort us.
When we admit [acknowledge] that we’re imperfect – just like everyone else – and then admit [let in] God into our lives (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), we have hope. This hope isn’t just wishful thinking, but a rational confidence that is founded on evidence and God’s promises: one that changes our lives fundamentally for the better. In fact, it’s such a great change that the Bible calls it a “new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:16-21). We become brand-new and turned around from our former, hopeless life.
Once we admit our wrong choices, and accept something better from God, that great change in our lives should spill out to others and makes things better for them, as well. As we show gratitude for God’s gift and respect for His superior wisdom, we try to follow Jesus’ example of humility, obedience, and service. Some – and hopefully many – of the human recipients of this outpouring of God’s love (through us) will choose to experience that same change in their lives for the better. Even those that don’t accept this great gift still get to see the love of Jesus Christ in action (as best as we can live that out with God’s help).
So, won’t you consider finding this common ground with other human beings? It might seem strange to seek out commonality in our weaknesses and our challenges, but when we add in the perfect solution to those struggles, what better foundation could we have for friendships and communities? (After all, isn’t this what God planned for the church to be like in the first place?)
It is my hope that this realization and admission of our sins, combined with the acceptance of our only hope to address them, will start to replace hatred around us with love. The following verse might seem to be taken out of context (so please read all of Luke 7:36-50 to decide for yourself), but I think that it can apply to us, no matter where we are:
Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”
Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
Luke 7:47-48 NIV
Have your many sins – like my many sins – been forgiven through Jesus Christ? If not, I pray that you will find His peace and freedom. You’re welcome to post questions in the comments below, or contact me through this site. You can also seek out a pastor or friend who follows Jesus and ask them to show you more about this great news (see Matthew 7:7-8).
If your many sins have been forgiven, be like this woman, and love much. Love Jesus (which means being obedient to Him – see John 14 and John 15), and let that love for Jesus spill out to others. See them as fellow sinners, not out of condemnation or pity, but as those with much in common with us, and as souls who could be part of our family if we’re willing to look past the surface differences. Then we can start to understand how much other people are loved by God, just as we are.
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.