Christianity ought to radically change the way that we see people and relate to them. As I am currently working through the parables of Jesus, I have been struck by how many of them address our relationships with people. In the parable of the good Samaritan, Jesus intimates that all people are our neighbors–even the person we are most frustrated with (for the Jew that was the Samaritan). Further, Jesus is more concerned with us living like neighbors than determining who fits that bill. In the parable of the wedding feast, Jesus indicates that we should be reaching out in love to all people. Living in a kingdom that is upon us and yet awaits fulfillment (already/not yet) should open our eyes to see the poor, the downtrodden, and the needy in our midst.
The gospelradically changes the way we see ourselves and other people and how we relate to them. Using the four gospel truths of Creation, Fall, Redemption, and Consummation, here is a basic guide to poeple:
- Creation: God created the world and he made it good–everything in it, including you and me, belongs to him. Every breath is a gift.
- Fall: God’s good creation has subjected itself to corruption. We have sinned and what God made good has been broken.
- Redemption: God promises to fix his broken creation through the death and resurrection of His Son, the God-man Jesus Christ. People who trust Christ are healed of their corrupt nature.
- Consummation: God will send Jesus back to finally redeem those who trusted him and he will finally and decisively make all that is wrong in the world right.
Seeing ourselves in the right light:
- 1. We are created beings. We have value.
- We are broken. There is much about us that isn’t good–we need to be familiar with this aspect about ourselves. Our nature has been corrupted in a way that we cannot fix by ourselves.
- We can be redeemed through Christ. Our corrupt nature can be done away with and replaced with a new one. We don’t deserve this–its the most marvelous gift.
- We are not yet what we will be.
Seeing other people in the right light:
- They are created beings. They have value. Not one is worth more than another.
- They are broken. We should expect them to fail and even hurt us at times.
- They can be redeemed by grace. No one deserves this–that is why everyone should hear about it.
- Those God saves he will perfect.
Seeing ourselves in relation to other people:
- You are created and therefore have value to offer other people.
- You are broken and thus have the potential to do great harm to people made in God’s image.
- You are saved by God’s grace. You don’t deserve this–its a gift so you are no better than anyone else. This salvation does grant you a unique potential to bless others.
- You are saved, you are being saved, and you will be saved. God isn’t done with you yet.
This paradigm has the power to radically change the way we see people and relate to them. As C.S. Lewis said–humans are immortal beings–that changes everything. Christians ought to be the humblest of all people.