Friday, March 31, 2006
Loving the wrong people
“The purpose of our life is God’s glory.
However lowly a life is,
that is what makes it great.”
(The Violence of Love, September 3, 1978)
There is great danger in valuing people differently than God does. We make claims that God loves all people and we are told in scripture that “God shows no favoritism” (Romans 2.11), but do we believe it? There are those who say that serving someone who isn’t going to heaven when they die is a worthless deed or are at least hesitant to say that it is worth the time. There were people in Jesus’ time who believed something along these lines and Jesus’ response to them was, “tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the Kingdom of God before you do” (Matthew 21.31). If we ever begin to distinguish who is worthy of help and who is not we will surely be neglecting the wrong people. For any neglect is wrong. If we turn our backs because someone lives or believes differently than we do then what distinguishes us from the Pharisees? Jesus’ call was to love and bless all the wrong kinds of people. Jesus got killed because He loved the wrong kinds of people; the tax collectors, the prostitutes, the lepers, the poor, the outcast. Jesus loved and hung out with a bunch of people who you might say were ‘going to hell in a hand basket’ (whatever a hand basket is…). Jesus wasn’t about getting people into heaven when they die. Jesus was all about the Kingdom of God; the bringing of heaven to Earth. To Jesus service was of cosmic importance, even eternal importance. Christianity, therefore, is all about loving the wrong kinds of people, the people who are going to hell in a hand basket. It is all about valuing the people who we are inclined to devalue because whoever that may be, God thinks the world of them.