Anglican Diocese of Armidale

The Anglican Diocese of Armidale exists to glorify God by introducing people to Jesus and helping them home to heaven.

 

In Focus

Misunderstanding is no Medicine

Friday, February 21, 2020

What is it with our humanity that we struggle with the nice guy, the good woman, the gentle friend, the wise guide? Is jealousy the problem? Is it the confronting reality of what we should be, but aren’t, that finds in us an unhelpful reaction? It is an odd thing to find ourselves not liking a person because they are delightful, or truthful, or good, or servant-hearted, or kind or more.  There is something perverse in us when we despise others for qualities we would otherwise admire and be proud of in ourselves. There is something quite sick in the human soul when we look for faults in others to appease the guilt within ourselves. It is a perversion of our humanity to want to attack the good in others when the good in others should have us aspire to be better. But being better has little chance in a culture of blame and shame and victim claims. Better is never a consideration in the world of the bitter.

I get the impression that Jesus Christ suffers as a result of people with this kind of human perversion and bitterness. Purity, holiness and righteousness are not words we associate with the age we live in but we do associate them with Jesus, with God. That may be why we don’t hear such words used anymore and seek the removal of God from the marketplace, or worse, from our lives. If you aren’t pure, holy or righteous it can be terribly uncomfortable to find yourself in the presence of one who is. More excruciating is the realisation that you can never escape the presence of the God who is.

In truth, I think this is one of the reasons why many people find it so hard to enter a church. It may even be the reason why people feel so antagonistic to Jesus Christ. Unless you know Jesus Christ, the baggage of feeling words like unworthy, ashamed and guilty are certainly words that make time with someone like Jesus very uncomfortable.

But misunderstanding is never the medicine for healing or hope. That is why I have been seeking to reintroduce Jesus Christ to a context that often reflects ignorance of Him.

Sure, Jesus is well known for saying, “Go and sin no more”. My guess is that most people would all know God for His hatred of sin because sin is the antithesis of love and God’s justice is love’s reaction to sin. Only the perverse would condemn God’s loving justice. But it is thoroughly understandable that sin’s perverseness has us hating God’s justice because we all stand condemned. 

If this was the only thing you knew about Jesus Christ then we would all keep our distance but it is not the only thing we know of Him.

It is worth hearing that He said, “I have come that you may have life and have it to the full”. He was not a life spoiler but the enhancer. You may have paid no attention to your Sunday School teacher who reminded you weekly that Jesus said to sinful people, “Your sins are forgiven”. You may never have been in a scripture class at school and heard that Jesus came to take away the sin of the world. Under the tyranny of adult urgency you may have missed the echo of history declaring that Jesus Christ was crucified for those who are unworthy, ashamed and guilty in order to make us children of God, full of hope and promise. There has to be something wrong with our humanity when the guilty become antagonistic to the forgiver. Something is clearly dysfunctional when the hopeless reject hope. Life is really perverted when those so indulgent in self grow increasingly bitter while unable to see the God who offers better.

What is it with our humanity that we struggle with this nice guy, good man, gentle friend and wise guide, Jesus Christ? It is an odd thing to find ourselves not liking the person of God revealed in Jesus because He is delightful, truthful, good, kind, patient, sacrificially loving, servant-hearted, forgiving and always seeking our betterment, not our embitterment.  There is a judgement to come for all humanity but the sadly developing bitterness of our age may indicate that the judgement has already begun.

 

Rick Lewers