Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Christian Values...

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

According to the scriptures - God highly values humanity. He felt people were worth the price of His very own life. Not good people - but “sinners” - everyone. God highly values every person on the planet - whether they know it or not. He values the faithful and the atheist, the moral and the immoral, the heterosexual and the homosexual - He died for all. He paid the price for all. He died for the Indian who practices Hinduism, the Asian who follows the way of Buddha, the Middle Eastern who follows the Quran, the Morman who rejects the Trinity, the Agnostic who doesn’t care, and the Christian that struggles with legalism. I'm not trying to be too loose with generalizations, but don't miss the point: He died for all.

It’s not to say that there aren’t lost people. But that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about value. There’s not a person that’s alive that isn’t worth the price that Jesus paid on the cross. Yet, so often, I’ve noticed that many of Jesus‘ followers tend to value “correct doctrine” over people.

If Jesus really was God in the flesh, then He was the most “right” person to ever exist - period. His “doctrine” was perfect. He was more “right” or “correct” than anyone’s idea about Him could ever be - because He was God. And God was condemned to death on a cross for other people’s wrong idea about Him. And He didn’t destroy those that condemned Him. He didn’t punish them. In His great humility, He let them kill Him.

He could have gotten out of death. He holds together all things - including the very atoms that made up the men who nailed him on the cross. He could have proved - without a shadow of a doubt - that He was correct - “right”, and those that were killing Him were wrong and misguided. But He didn’t. Instead, He said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” He showed His love for humanity as He was condemned to death.

I think that prayer wasn’t just for the people nailing Jesus to the cross. I think it was for all of us - humanity. We just don’t know what the heck we’re doing most of the time. And our values are so messed up.

People tend to value “belief” over love. But God showed how much he valued everyone - including those that disagreed with Him - through His life, death, and resurrection. The sad thing is, we take what He did on the cross and turn it into an argument - a position. We, often, turn His love for all people into a - “you’re in, you’re out” - kind of religious system. These positions tend to feel very arrogant and condescending to those people that are in the “out” group. Jesus values and loves the “out” group. He loves and values all of us.

Jesus said:

“...whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:43-45)

It’s easy to serve someone that we value. We will bend over backward for those that matter to us. It doesn’t matter what they believe, or don’t believe - if we value someone, we’ll serve them. If we don’t value them, we won’t serve them.

This begs the question for all of us: Do we value people? Do we value those we disagree with. Do we value “sinners”? Do we even value our enemies? Because Jesus valued all of those people! This is convicting to me because I’m not a very good servant. Maybe it’s because my values are all screwed up.

Jesus came to serve - He values us! And He didn’t just serve, He gave up His life for us as a ransom. Why can’t we do the same for each other?

The scriptures say:

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus...” (Phil 2:3-5)

What if “Christian values” were less about behavior and more about people? What if people were valued - whether they believed the “right” things or not? I wonder what the world would be like if everyone knew they were loved unconditionally - not just from God, but from the people that follow Him?

I think, maybe, it might look a little like: “Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven...” part of Jesus’ famous prayer. Heaven on earth - God showing how much humanity is valued through us.

May we learn to see and love each other as God sees and loves us!

Have a great day!


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