Sunday, 24 February 2008

Why We Need A Jesus (Part 1): Great Humanity's Tragic Flaw

Why do people so often disappoint us? Why are we so deeply hurt when they fail to match up to our expectations? What keeps us hoping for a purity, a greatness of character that rarely fails to elude us, in ourselves and in others?

Isn't it that, despite the glaring flaws in the very best of us, there is something deeply a part of humanity that is inexplicably lovely - something so wonderful that it teaches us to hope, again and again?

We like to talk about "good people" and "bad people". A friend of mine stays with a man who hits her because "he's not a bad person". She sees something in him, despite his violence, that is pure and beautiful. Knowing what goodness lies within, she can't bring herself to toss him out, even though the very same man may someday, in a rage, kill her.

The truth we don't like to face is that there aren't any "good people" or "bad people". In each of us lives, side by side, a nature that is loyal, loving, kind, and true - and a nature that is selfish, hateful, spiteful, and proud. Whether because of personality or experience, some of us are better or less able to control which side shows itself, but both exist in us all.

Occasionally we meet people whose characters are so shot through with beauty that we begin to hope - perhaps they will be the ones to satisfy that stubborn longing within us that, seemingly without any basis, seeks purity, nobility, and an unfailing heart of love. And reality comes to bite us on the bum time after time. Oh, we still love them in spite of their failure to meet our expectations. We don't have any business doing it any other way, since we know ourselves to be so flawed. But the point is, we are disappointed.

What teaches us to hope? What is it about the human imperfection we can discuss intellectually, that doesn't translate to the subconscious us - the part that hopes, in the face of knowledge and experience, for someone (a friend, a lover, a mother or father) that won't let us down? How is it that such rich, dear, loveliness can exist alongside violence, stubbornness, arrogance, selfishness?

What else, but that we are made in the image of very God - so that our deep essence is no cheap thing, but a thing made with his own beauty and greatness and love? What else, but that sin eats away at that precious thing, destroying its usefulness but unable to nullify its rich value?

Our world is built upon a great tragedy - one that, to understand, we need not study science or history or theology. We have only to look with honesty at that thing we know both least and best - our own heart.

Outside of Jesus Christ, we have neither explanation for the tragic reality we know in every fibre of our lives, nor have we any cure.


bjk said...

I keep reading and rereading this....

Robert said...

I am like becky so good jennypo. Very solidly put as to just why we need a Jesus

if you ever are here in the portland area you better let me know :)

Barbara(aka Layla) said...

i've re-read this a few times too :)