Can we truly be free from the prejudices we have toward others, and from the prejudice we face from others? Sadly, perhaps not. We all see life and people from a perspective that is colored by our unique experiences - whether positive or negative.
But if I were to look at the life and example of Jesus for illumination on this matter, I can see that Jesus lived, saw the world and treated others in a way which clearly demonstrates that He lived by a different - a higher, more radical - unparalleled standard altogether. He treated the rich and poor, the sick and healthy, the pious and non-religious, the disciples and the mockers, the oppressed and the corrupt, the adulterous and the pure, the men and the women, the children and the old, the outcast and the majority, the self-righteous and the sinner, with equal compassion and this, this... incomprehensible love.
A love that I clearly, sorely, obviously, lack.
Was Jesus just another good man? Was He just another wise man? Perhaps a good and wise man who was a deranged lunatic who claimed to be the Son of God? Can such a good and wise and charismatic character - who has made ripples worldwide, and continues to do so 2,000 years later through those first twelve disciples He discipled in only three years - be written off as a lunatic?
I don't know about you. But I personally don't think, feel and reason so. Jesus is not the kind of man you'd want to see placed in a mental asylum. He's the kind of man you'd want to see everywhere, because we need someone like Him. The million-dollar question is, was He just another man, another teacher, another prophet? Or does His life hold a deeper significance that ripples onward through history, to the present reality, and to eternity?
The life of Jesus, His attitude, His actions, His speech, His message - all lends weight to what He claimed to be and why He claimed to be on earth. It wasn't just the empty claims of a deranged man. He spoke with authority, with clarity, with purpose, with reason, with intelligence, with tact, with humility, with grace, with truthfulness, with integrity, and all in love. A love that I lack.
When I read the Gospels, when I read the words of Jesus Himself, my heart is captured - riveted - by this underlying, spilling-over, overflowing, truth-bearing, soul-shattering, heart-transforming, kind of love. A love that I lack. A love that all the presumably good and wise men of this world lack. A love that families lack. A love that mankind lacks toward teach other and toward the world they abuse with abandon. I see it now. God. I want this love. I need this love. I am desperate for it - are you not?
Ah, perhaps that is the great dividing line between all peoples - those whose hearts are desperate, and those who think theirs are not. Those who love much because they are forgiven much (sinners - like me), and those who love little because they think they are in no need of forgiveness. God! Why can't we see it?
Perhaps that is why Jesus said, 'Blessed are the poor in spirit… blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.' Blessed are the poor - in spirit. Those who recognize their need, their desperation, their helplessness, their poverty of the soul. Do you recognize it in yourself? Or do you think you are okay?
This love that I lack, I have found in Christ. Say what you may, all the world could collapse on me or around me, but this love is my Eternity. It is my present reality, it is my hope and stay, it is my refuge and strength, it is my comfort and reason for rejoicing. It is the reason I write, the reason I sing, the reason I believe, the reason I am broken but made whole again.
~ J a n i e ll e