By Evan Johnson
It’s no secret that our world is dark. Anyone who looks at the international stage and isn’t appalled by the sheer destructive capabilities of humanity is either a fool or a liar. It’s unavoidable. The world is broken, and it has been broken into many pieces.
Remarkably, it’s not our job to “fix” it.
Hear me out.
I’m not saying there’s no theological prerogative as a Christian to “fix” the brokenness of the world. You could certainly make that argument. I’m saying that this world actually isn’t fixable. The damage has been done. What needs fixing is the brokenness of humanity, and that’s here to stay. The imperfection that plagues our lands in manifestations of genocide, poverty, prejudice, and murderous crimes is going to be here as long as we’re here.
Christians do have a redeemed heart, though. We have Joy. We have the power of the Almighty God who created the universe to love people beyond our own capacity.
“For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another… By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.” - 1 John 3:11,16
We have been given a great love so we can give great love. We have been shown mercy so we can show mercy. We have been shown grace so we can show grace. This is a really, really, really big idea, and as humans, we are attracted to big ideas. Look at everything we’ve built: the Eiffel Tower, the Pyramids, the Great Wall, the Empire State Building—the list goes on. Why? Why do we try and build such great marvelous?
We’re obsessed with greatness. Greatness and Awesomeness infatuate us. They mesmerize us. It’s a pretty simplistic example, but no one ever watched an olympic swimmer and went, “I love how adequate his abilities are in the pool.”
We love majesty. It’s hardwired within us. Maybe it’s in different ways, but it’s there. Some of us enjoy the awesomeness of technological advances. Others enjoy seeing the grand canyon stretch out beyond our horizon of sight. Regardless, bigness captivates us, so when something really really big happens to us, we want to respond in an equally big way. When God saves us, we want to save the world, but it can be easy to forget about the people around us who are lonely and forgotten. The people around us who, though they may not necessarily be lonely or forgotten, may need a friend that day.
Jesus used ordinary people to spread his gospel to ordinary people. God instructed that on Peter—not Paul, not Luke, not even his brother James—on Peter, the adequate-at-best fisherman, Jesus would build his church, and he did. Peter didn’t go to the emperors or the kings or the governors, though. He only went to the Sanhedrin when he was summoned to them. He went to the people he saw in his every day life.
Big love is big because of what it is—not because of who it’s for. Love for the poor is a love out of mercy. Love for the troubling and delinquent is a love out of grace. It’s not so much the object of the love that moves love into action as it is the essence of love itself.
Since we have been given such a great and powerful love, it is only natural that it cannot be contained in our souls. Our souls are too small and feeble to contain all of the love God has for us.