Have you been feeling the tension in our country? Wherever you look, people are divided. And it’s not a new trend, it’s been going on for decades. Our divisions aren’t easy to sum up in a simple package. For some it’s religion, for others ethnicity; for some it’s socioeconomic status, and others geographic location…and don’t forget political affiliation as well.
We hate it, but we keep rehashing the same cycle. Why? Because we’re selfish to our core.
Ugh. I hate even saying it. I don’t wanna talk about it. It sounds so ugly, doesn’t it? And you’re right…it is! But selfishness is as innate to our humanity as our feelings, or need for air and food. You know how it goes…we meet up with someone, maybe it’s a friend we love to hang out with, and before you know it we are sharing all the stuff we are going through. We might ask, “How are you?” But we really aren’t asking. Because we all have a tendency to place our desires and needs before others.
But talking about our problems isn’t the core issue. It’s how we view the world through a selfish lens. Much of our decision-making is rooted in our selfish desire to put ourselves above everyone else. We take first place. So it’s not hard to see how selfishness can divide us from the people around us.
Selfishness even divides us from the best part of who we are. Genesis 1:27 tells us God has created us in His own image. But in Genesis 3, sin entered the world, and selfishness is one of the most powerful sins. You see, selfishness divides us from our essential selves, and since we’re created for relationship with God, selfishness divides us from God, so we are only left with our wants and desires that come from our flesh. Selfishness is self-idolatry in action.
I know…I said it was ugly. It’s the one thing keeping all of us from our best lives.
So what do we do with all that? If you’re like me, you have a hard time imagining a remedy for a problem like this one…I mean, what’s more massive than a natural bent toward division? But the solution is actually even more monumental than the problem: it’s God’s grace…God’s favor that is not merited or earned. God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense. As God reveals himself to us in grace, the light of who He is spills over into our lives and illuminates who we are too. Have you ever looked at the mirror first thing in the morning and thought, “What is that?” Grace is the mirror into our soul. It shows us our selfishness and simultaneously gives us the ability and opportunity to enjoy all that God is, as he replaces our selfishness with His heart for others. Grace invites us to contemplate the suffering in our own life and, through our experiences, empowers us to reach out to a world that is self-focused and lonely.
While our selfishness divides us, God’s grace unites us. Grace brings our enemies close and makes them friends. Grace re-integrates us with God, ourselves and the people around us. Grace conquers our fears and our hostilities until love dominates our outlook on the world…not our own self-interest.
So take a fresh look around. Do you only see division? Grace is not only necessary, it is bestowed – as in, God has already given it to you. You just have to receive it! In Jesus, God’s grace is both on display and lavished upon us and others, through us…How is the Lord asking you to embrace and show grace today? As you embrace God’s grace, look for opportunities to pass it along to every person you come in contact with…and watch as the God of restoration brings people together, in ways you never thought possible!