In the last post, I shared how we so easily label individuals or groups as ‘them’–those for whom hope and renewal seem impossible…at least in our estimation. But “even to them, God has given…life.” As mentioned in that post there’s a catch, though, and here it is in a nutshell:
So from now on, we regard no one from a worldly point of view…We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors as though God were making his appeal through us. (2 Corinthians 5:16a, 20a)
Not only can God reach, but he desires to reach the ‘them;’ more than this, he has designed you and me as the simple vessels to take the majestic message of hope to them.
Required in this is the choice to regard those around us from a heavenly point of view–as those who are offered freedom and life through Jesus, regardless of who or what they are outside of Him. This was heaven’s view of me, and now, that view is through the righteousness of Jesus…nowhere does my own awesomeness factor in.
The challenge here is that we tend to be people who like labels and quickly view those around us with the label-perspective: That person is a heartless conservative. And that one a mindless liberal. They’re bad drivers because they learned in Ohio :). She’s non-evangelical, or gay, or homophobic, or _________. We so readily take up the banner of temporal (often political) war, forgetting that we have been entrusted with the most significant ministry of heaven–the ministry of reconciliation.
Don’t trade your opportunities to engage in the ministry of reconciliation by focusing more on any platform other than Jesus. I have friends who have so heralded the banner of conservatism or progressivism over anything else that they’ve given up the opportunity to journey with people who don’t fit that particular mold–I don’t think anyone of a different mindset would feel welcome in their presence or ministry sphere… at least not if they read my friends’ social media posts.
I know, I know.
I can hear you now, “Jeremiah, don’t point out the speck in someone else’s eye when you’re sporting a railroad tie coming out of your face.”
So let’s cycle back to this reality: If we are a follower of Jesus, God is making his appeal through us. His appeal to those around us who need life, hope, joy, wholeness–and not our personal, pet definitions of those things, but the kind of heavenly life, hope, joy, and wholeness that defies definition. All of this through us.