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One of Us

As I’ve been thinking even more about this egocentric determination of comfort among other people, I’ve been struck with not only how pervasive it is in every area of my life, but how practically untouchable it is in our society. It is really a given that you find groups and individuals with which you connect, based on your shared interests and perspectives, and to suggest otherwise doesn’t even make sense. We are encouraged to find others who love sports like we do, or who enjoy scrapbook making (ha ha…if you know me at all, just picture me ever having all the right materials in the right little containers for one of those retreats…and giggle!), or who share our religious convictions or our political leanings, our taste in music or restaurants or movies…and so on. When afforded the choice, I have always selected the people I will spend the most time with based on commonalities. Do you see who is at the center of those relationships?

All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. John 6:37-39

There are a few things there that strike me. The most obvious difference between me and Jesus is that He entered each setting and circumstance not intent on doing on His own will but instead, the will of the Father. I almost never think about God before myself. I am almost always too preoccupied with the above mentioned assessments of commonalities and agreements that I have no sight for Jesus’ other points above: that all who the Father draws will come and that Jesus will not lose a single one. I’m rarely interested in who He is drawing and keeping but far more consumed with the ones I would select…which is often limited to those who think like I do or have the potential of thinking like I do.

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. Romans 5:6-11

He didn’t come searching out His greatest fans, the most righteous and winsome nor the ones who could boost His ratings the most. For starters, and obviously, this is because there is nothing He was lacking in identity or fulfillment that needed completion by His creation. His creation has dignity and value because it is made in His image to image Him. Do I ever even consider the possibility of being at home in a group or with an individual who is nothing like me because that person images God’s story of creation, fall, redemption and the hope of glory intentionally as part of God’s design? Of course not because I’m usually too busy being preoccupied with my own self and how they affirm or disrupt me. To be at home with the ungodly, the sinner and my enemies (often those who despise me simply based on assumptions based on appearance, speech and associations…much like I have just done with them) is only possible when I begin to faintly grasp who I am in relation to Jesus apart from His own gracious seeking and saving of me from my own enmity with Him.

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. 1 John 4:10-12

I first notice that “she is not one of us” or assume that I am not “one of them.” In contrast, Jesus did not love out of comfort or convenience. Jesus became one of us so that we could be one with Him. Now the moralism take away would be to feel shamed for being friends with those who share much in common and more holy for only selecting the settings in which we feel the most awkward and uncomfortable. Those are my two natural responses and totally omit the person and work of Jesus from the equation. Because my righteousness is in Him alone, it isn’t in this decision and how I make it any more than any other attempts of mine to meet the demands of the law on my own. But because I am found in Him, I can be freed up to love extravagantly without the demand of return or reward but simply because His love sends me outside of myself and into the Father’s will.

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