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- Christianity, the Bible & Jesus
Thinking about Equality and Peace
We Are All Created in God's Image
In the last couple of months, several killings have shaken the nation and divided its opinion. In Dallas, a sniper killed five police officers, and wounded nine more, to avenge the deaths of black Americans Alton Sterling and Philando Castile after they were shot by the police in Louisiana and Minnesota. A similar incident occurred in Dallas when an ex-marine shot and killed three police officers, and wounded three more, to avenge Sterling and Castile also.
Moreover, an even bloodier incident had taken place in Orlando. A man who pledge allegiance to the Islamic State opened fire in a gay nightclub and killed forty-nine people.
The problem at hand seems to be that different groups of people do not regard the lives of people in other groups as equal in value to their own. For some reason, there are people that feel justified in ending the lives of others. In fact, this problem is multiplied when we take in consideration that since 1973 there have been some 50 million abortions in the nation.
Is there anything that can offer peace, unity, and hope to the nation?
The Christian Message
I believe the Christian faith is the best solution to these problems, because its message is a message of reconciliation that truly transforms the heart of everyone who receives Jesus Christ in his, or her, heart.
The Bible teaches us that God created humanity in his own image and likeness. Even though He created the first man from the ground (from matter), He breathed into him the breath of life, and the first man became a living soul. In other words, each one of us is greater than the sum of his physical parts. Though our bodies do not amount to much (they are vulnerable, they grow old, and they decay), our inner beings are very much like God Himself: we have intelligence, emotions, a will, an identity, and a sense of right and wrong. Of all the organisms in the world, we are the only ones who can have a meaningful relationship with our Creator.
For this reason, even though we have been degraded by sin (wrongdoing, unrighteousness, and immorality), God loved us to such an extent that He sent his Son, God the Son (Jesus Christ), to live on the Earth in human form, teach humanity about God, live a sinless life, shed his blood on a cross, and resurrect from the dead, so that our moral debt to God for our sins may be paid in full, and we may be reconciled with Him forever.
How great is the love of God for humanity! God did no love the animals so, nor the plants, nor the stars of our universe. The only ones whom He loved with such limitless love is us, humanity.
Thus we find in these doctrines that all human beings are of equal value because God created all humanity in his own image, because we are all descendants of the first two human beings God created, and because God gave his eternal Son for us all.
As a follower of Jesus Christ, I believe God loves all human beings with equally infinite love (I say infinite love because He gave Himself for us, and therefore there is nothing He has withheld from us). God loves homosexuals, the transgendered, black Americans, white Americans, police, civilians, and all human beings on the face of the Earth with equal and unbiased love, according to the intrinsic value he bestowed on us all when He created us in his own image.
Therefore, He expects us all to love each other as we love ourselves (cf. Luke 10:27); and as He forgives us all our sins if we believe in Jesus, He expects us to forgive everyone who offends us (cf. Luke 17:4).
I believe that if everyone would receive these truths in his heart, the world would be a much better place than it is now, for we would not only love each other on the basis of our intrinsic value before God, but we would also love each other despite our sins and failures before God, for we would forgive as God has forgiven us.
The Cross as a Symbol of Unity
Principles for Living
In summary, the principles of the Christian faith that unite us all are that (1) we are all created in God's image, and are therefore of equal value to Him (cf. Genesis 1:27); and (2) that God loves us so much that He sent his own Son, Jesus Christ, to die for our sins (cf. John 3:16).
As people receive these two principles in their hearts, they will realize that God expects us to treat each other according to the great love He has for us, and the great value He sees in us. For this reason, God has given us some very clear instructions about how we ought to treat each other.
1. We must not murder (cf. Exodus 20:13).
2. We must love our neighbors as ourselves (cf. Leviticus 19:18).
3. We must love our enemies (cf. Matthew 5:44).
4. We must do good to those who wrong us (cf. Matthew 5:44).
5. We must help those who are in need (cf. Ephesians 4:28).
6. We must be at peace with others (cf. Romans 12:8).
7. We must not hate others (cf. 1 John 3:15).
8. We must not be unjustly upset with anyone (cf. Matthew 5:22).
9. We must not insult each other (cf. Matthew 5:22).
10. We must not slander others, nor gossip about them (cf. James 4:11).
11. We must not steal from anyone (cf. Exodus 20:15).
12. We must obey and follow the laws of our governments (cf. Romans 13:7).
13. We must be sincere in forgiving each other (cf. Matthew 18:35).
The Bible teaches that the church ought to be “the pillar and ground of the truth” in this world (1 Timothy 3:15, KJV). Therefore, in this day and age, we must not be quiet. Instead, we must grow bolder in engaging our communities in a meaningful conversation about what God expects from each one of us, and about the provision He has made for us in Jesus Christ for reconciliation.
We must grow more committed to the truth, putting aside the biases and ideologies of the world, and girding ourselves with the spiritual truth that has been given to us.
And moreover, we must become more skillful in clearly articulating and defending these principles. We must learn to present them in a matter that is relevant to society and that catches their attention.
Questions for Reflection
1) When people talk with you about the evils that plague society, do you use the conversation as an opportunity to share with others God’s message of reconciliation through Jesus Christ, or do you put your beliefs aside and neglect to share God’s truth with them?
2) What do you think are some objections people will present to the principles above? How could you respond to these objections?
3) Are you modeling the principles above in your own life? If not, what will it take for you to change your ways?
4) What role do you think repentance toward God and faith in Jesus Christ will play in helping people live under the principles above?
Today, ask the Lord Jesus to help you understand how much God the Father loves people, and to forgive you if you have not loved them as He does. Ask Him to give you courage to share God's solution to society’s problems. Ask Him also to help you live according to the principles above so that your life may be a light to others and point them toward Him.