NM – I’ve come to a place in my life that I can’t say people are basically sinful anymore.
It is this idea that people are basically evil – basically sinful and worthless in their own right – that justifies the evil that we do to each other. It is what drives the authoritarian parent to spank. What drives the patriarchal husband to control his wife. What drives the church leaders to degrade, humiliate, and reject members of the flock. What drives people to war. This idea that we need to break each other’s will, to mold each other into the image of God. (Why anyone thinks they personally have transcended their own sinful nature to the extent that they are in a position to “mold” someone else – I have no clue.)
But have we forgotten that we were created in the image of God? Our original state was one without sin. At our deepest level, our truest selves are the most pure. And it is this “self” that God intends to bring forth. To “save.” He looks at all the layers of garbage we have built up over the years, and he mourns the loss of the beautiful daughter he created. He reaches out and offers to bring her back, even to the point of sacrificing himself in my place. How can I not respond to that? How can I not be in love with Him? Be devoted to him.
We love him because HE first loved us. Obviously, He sees something worth loving about us. Something basically good about us, perverted and warped as we may have become. There is no shame in the effort to seek out that aspect of ourselves. The mysteries of our own hearts are as powerful a testament of God's creative abilility as anything "beyond" ourselves. Perhaps even more so, because we are the aspects of creation that he has chosen to save.
And no, I don’t think anyone else can perform that miracle on my behalf. But it seems arrogant to assume that my salvation depends upon my belief. As though God needs “credit” for what he has done, or else he’ll withdraw the offer. If my baby jumped into a lake, I’d jump in after him and pull him out. He might kick and scream, insist that he was just going for a swim – forever hate me for ruining his fun. Refuse to admit that I saved his life. But I’d do it again if I had to.
I don’t know the answers. I really don’t. Probably, I ought to read my Bible more.
This whole thread is depressing me. I really don't like "not knowing." I really also don't like the feelings that so many non-Christians have about Christians. That we somehow "get off" on all this condemnation. I really don't. NM -- I know you don't either.
(editing because -- oops -- i forgot where i was and inadvertantly used a bad word. so sorry. )