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August 20, 2018 0 Comment

In Christ's Sandals: Removing Willful Blindness and Seeing God's Love

"Everyone who is of the truth, listens to my voice." Pilate said to him, "What is truth?" John 8:37

How frustrating it is to be seen as a stereotype. To be judged not for who you are, but by someone’s assumption of who you are based on their information of a small group they witnessed, or even worse having no information and just going by a feeling. Why would God create this damaging trait in humans? Why would he create, confirmation bias, this physical brain block that prevents us from seeing or hearing anyone who we consider beneath our own self image? Imagine how much better our world would be if we heard each other. If we saw each other. If God is a God of love, why would he physically set us up to fail this test of humanity?

God set Himself up to be ignored by the world

When we look at the Godhead, the 3-in-one idea of God, then we can make the claim that Christ is God. And we can back this claim up by the words of Christ in John 10:30, “I and my father are one.” With God being Christ, we can then start with his beginning as a human on our earth and look at the factors of value that would establish his worth by society at that time: 
1. Born as a bastard child out of wedlock
2. Born to a tradesman/laborer, a carpenter, not a learned man.
3. Born in Nazareth (John 1:46 “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”)
4. Born poor
5. Placed in a feeding troth of animals as soon as he was born
6. Denied a place that was suitable for a baby even at his birth
7. His life was threatened even inside his mother’s womb because of a king’s jealousy and greed
8. He was not white (Michelangelo’s paintings do not give a realistic representation of Christ, only a Euro-centric bias of the Savior of the world. If you know the story of Galileo Galilei and his run in with the church leading to his lockup and recanting, then you would understand that Europe thought very highly of itself and commissioned its Artists to instill that idea in their paintings).

When we look into our own society today we see how these same characteristics listed above are used to vilify humans. To typecast people as worthless and assumptions of wrong-doing, even accusations of laziness.

If we fast forward into the depictions given of his life through the Gospel authors, we see even more traits that establish his worth by today’s society standards (I do not know enough about the biblical time period to make this a comparison to the society’s social norms then).
1. Ran off from his parents on his first big trip and then scolded his mother for being worried
2. Started his journey as a man with no money or home or physical destination
3. Squatted with his disciples as he went from town to town
4. A rabble-rouser who told off religious leaders, calling them “Hypocrites”
5. Was always getting in trouble with the law
6. Let a prostitute touch and wash his feet and then treated her like a person
7. Had conversations with women who were rejected by society and “undesirables” and he even healed them breaking God’s law of the Sabbath

Listening to the words on social media comment threads, memes, TV, and AM Talk Radio shows, these traits listed above are the traits of villains and thieves. Of lazy people who do not appreciate the hard work of others and takes what is not theirs. Yet, these traits are the ones that represented Christ. These traits were who he was. Is it a coincidence that Christ was hung with thieves when he hung on the cross? Or was this yet another statement to the world that not only did we condemn him out of our fear but also out of our own personal biases we use when assigning worth to humans?

If we condemn these traits as ones belonging to villains and thieves then we have labeled our Savior as such as well. What does that say about the world’s judgment of character? What does that say about each of our judgment of character? Can we truly remove our own personal biases to make such a call on one’s morality? 

The Test of Faith was Seeing Christ

If we look at Christ’s interactions with various people from his Disciples to strangers in the crowd, we see a pattern of faith unfold. A test of seeing Him first before he delivered the miracle. A personal test given subtlely to each person. Having set himself up with the personal biases that would create the conditions of the brain to block him from the person’s view, it took an act of faith to trust that he was who he said he was. To deny human instinct of judging based on society’s worth factors and believe he was the Son of God. Because if that person did not have faith, then the natural response of the brain would block him/her from hearing or seeing Christ for who he really was – God. Society did not know God because they could not see Christ for who he was, who he said he was. He did not fit into the pretty boxes society uses to establish human worth.

"SEE what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him." I John 3:1

Seeing Each Other Like Christ Sees Us

We are commanded by Christ to love each other as we love ourselves. Following this rule will help us see each other as Christ sees us. When you have predetermined a stranger is worthless and worthy of death, you are not loving them as yourself. If you have predetermined that a person who made a personal choice that you believe is wrong, is worthless and worthy of death, you are not loving that person as yourself. If you use God as a shield to punish others for the choices they made, you are not loving them as yourself. On your pedestal of self-righteousness, how can you see anyone from such a lofty height? Maybe your inquisition of your “villain” will mimic that of Pontius Pilate and Christ. Asking your questions, having them answered, but refusing to hear the answers being given because they do not fit the answers you want to hear. The answers that will make you right and that person worthy of your judgment and condemnation or allows you to win the favor of your crowds. Jesus said, “Everyone who is of the truth, listens and hears my voice.” And Pontius Pilate responded back, “What is truth?” 

"For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his SIGHT, but all are naked and exposed to the EYES of him to whom we must give account." - Hebrews 4:12-13
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