AS A CHILD, I wondered how the world could be so hurtful. Why did people hate me for simply looking different? It’s impossible for a little boy to understand. Later, as an adolescent, my hurt made me thirst for justice.
Still, instead of taking it out on the world, I directed it all inward. My thirst became disfigured into lust for righteousness that could never be satisfied. So I embraced self-destructive behavior.
Maybe I wanted to be numb to it all. Or maybe I wanted someone, anyone, even myself, to pay the price.
Eventually, I hit bottom. God was merciful to me as my bottom could have been much lower. He knew I could not withstand a deeper fall.
So I’m led once again to reflect on the racial issues that plague our world. I see fear induced rage on their faces. The ‘other’ becomes less than human. So they lash out and insult them. They stomp on them or put them in cages to rot. They spray them with pepper gas and bullets.
It amazes and frightens me how cruel we can be.
How can it be we have not moved past this after so many centuries?
I think it’s incredible that God sent his Son to die for such a terrible part of us. And mysteriously here I find my salvation.
The Bread that calms my hunger.
The Living Water that satisfies my thirst.
No other explanation gives me closure. Otherwise, it’s all pointless and absurd. Are we simply driven by a selfish desire to crush and control? Is this the natural course of human history? Or has God shown us there’s something else, something more? Something supernatural?
When Christ did not exist for me, everything was fair game. The gloves were off, and I did as I pleased. No argument convinced me to even pause.
Maybe I didn’t spew racial hate towards anyone, but I certainly hurt others and myself. It’s all the same in the end.
Some direct their pain outward, others inward. We live in a wounded world.
Still, in the face of all the hurt and pain, I am witness to great goodness. I have seen the hand of God at work in people. I’ve seen self-destruction transformed into newborn life. Communities pull together and provide loving care. Families make it through great difficulty, united and intact.
Impossible challenges are overcome by miracles of faith.
I have witnessed and received profound tenderness. Isn’t this human nature too? Many are gentle and kind. Maybe I never noticed this much before I knew Jesus. Or I never acknowledged the source. I was too busy worrying about myself.
Until one day, after a long journey in the wilderness, he revealed himself to my heart.
And this vulnerable little boy wasn’t alone anymore.
And now, in my hunger, I feed on the Bread of Life. The infinite mercy of God calms my thirst for justice. As Jesus is merciful to me, by grace alone, I can attempt to imitate him.
So when the enemy rises up to try to drive you into a corner, remember your history.
Recall when the Lord showed you his mercy and tenderness. See when he stopped you from falling forever into the abyss. Acknowledge that your good nature comes from heaven above.
Invoke the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and cast out the demons.
Come out from the wilderness and be filled by his mighty Spirit.
A great battle rages among humankind. We can choose to see others as threats or we can choose to see Christ in others. We can choose the absurdity of hate and control, or we can decide to love and to give life.
In this wounded world, we either add to the hurt or to the healing. Let it begin in you. Let the Lord satisfy your hunger for mercy and your thirst for justice.
Let him heal you and feed your soul. Let him make you strong, solid, and steady. Then go forth to be an agent of healing and mercy to others.
Offer the Word that nourishes.
Be the Body that saves.
Proclaim to our hurting world, the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.
Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.
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