In much of life today there is what we talk about, the surface of our conversations, and then there is the truth. By the way we behave it would be easy to believe the harsh clich? that “we can’t handle the truth”, yet I wonder if the reality of this clich? is closer to the mark than anyone might realize or be willing to accept. How much truth are we willing to listen to about ourselves and society? How easy is it to seriously hear and understand our role in poverty? What if we knew the full details of every lost opportunity to help others who are within our grasp?
Politicians paint pictures for us. It is extremely powerful to hear someone describe a scene, even if you know there isn’t a shred of reality in it! In my heart I know it isn’t true, but I still want the improbable. As I listen to the press, those in public positions, and even my words, I find we are caught in webs of our making. We believe what we choose to hear and see; filtered by prejudice, bias, and experience. It isn’t easy to see things differently than the view of yesterday. In fact, it is hard to enhance one’s perspective, sharpen the focus, and get rid of the things preventing unfettered sight.
In this context Jesus offers you and I something unusual, a clear measuring stick of how well we see. He was all about grace, compassion, and unconditionally acceptance. Was he radical? Absolutely yes! Was he unconventional? Again, yes. Was everything focused on a set of core values and principles defined and shaped by love and unconditional acceptance? Yes. It is the last which ferments everything he did and said. He left a set of criteria, “The person who knows my commandments and keeps them, that's who loves me. And the person who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and make myself plain to him.” (John 14.21) The criteria are simply truths, rare gifts in any age.
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