A writer once observed that as profoundly as Jesus Christ has touched the world, he was equally unsuccessful during his lifetime. Regardless of one's religious views, it is hard to argue that any single individual has influenced the world more than Jesus has and does. He has been used and misused. Life has been given and taken in his name. Whatever one might think, the ripples of his life continue to touch individual lives across generations, communities, and cultures.
The irony rests in his success during his lifetime. From all accounts, he did not convince anyone close to him during the time they were physically together. His followers, for the large part, deserted him in times of distress. His closest associated missed the heart of his message until after he was gone. Though individual lives were touched, by any traditional measure of success, he was a failure.
Jesus is not the first to have succeeded even while those around him did not see it that way. “This is the Moses who stood between the angel speaking at Sinai and your fathers assembled in the wilderness and took the life-giving words given to him and handed them over to us, words our fathers would have nothing to do with.” (Acts 7.38)
I find myself realizing yet again that traditional measures are not the same as God's criteria. The God I know talks of relationships frames by mercy and forgiveness. The God I know looks at me just as I am. Divinity loves me in my failures while hating the failings. The God I know talks of victory even as I fight to live.
Today arrives with grey and uncertain skies. It would be easy to measure my changes. Candidly, they are not good. Yet the measures I use are not God's. As I readjust my sight, aligning it with God's view, I find that we are sitting with the freedom to exercise compassion, mercy, and acceptance. With these, anything is possible. You and I can make the difference. Within us, lies the ability to respond to God.
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