I am capable of anything because I am just as capable of being as foolish, as unloving, unkind, and unaware as any horror story I’ve ever heard, it drives me to seek wisdom from God and others.
So, the Bible’s teaching about how messed up EVERY human heart is makes me realistic about myself, because I’m capable of anything, but also it makes me be more realistic about others because they are capable of anything.
Christians who understand this are lowered and humbled daily knowing that others are also capable of anything. As a pastor, I have seen it all. I have heard so many times the words “I can’t believe he did that, he seemed like such a nice guy. Can you believe she left her husband and kids for an affair? Can you believe, he cheated on her while she was pregnant with their third child? How did that business partner end up so angry launching that malicious lawsuit? How did he end up hiding that credit card from his wife for so long? How could he have lost so much money gambling? How could she not stop drinking – she has small kids?”
When you realize that “Everyone’s Capable of Anything,” you can step in to help a marriage of betrayal and you aren’t surprised. That doesn’t mean you condone it. But Christian teaching allows you to be very realistic about the basic nature of people and the nature of the world…corruption…cruelty, etc.
I had two relatives in recent years caught in a scandal. One was a public scandal in a big city. The other was a big scandal in a small town. And my first reaction was to “keep my distance!” Make sure people know that I am not like them. I am not one of them!! But as my superiority was humbled knowing that they are capable of anything, and I am also capable of anything, I was able to get over my pride to help. To become a part of the solution. Without compromising right and wrong, I was able to offer restoration and help to two very hurting people.
Jesus was so realistic about the nature of the human heart, that he was one of the most realistically hopefully characters in history. He knew that mankind’s heart is troubled, he didn’t fall for the applause of the crowd as he gained fame throughout the land. He understood the fickle nature of the crowd. He didn’t commit himself too naively to other’s good motives. He once -in the book of John- was about to be named king and he didn’t give himself to the crowd’s applause because he “knew what was in the heart of man.”
23 Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did. 24 But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, 25 And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man. John 2:23-25 (KJV)
Jesus didn’t “need the approval of others.” So he didn’t define himself by other’s approval. Good thing too, the same crowd that celebrates you on one day, can demonize you the next, which is exactly what happened to Him. Jesus didn’t give in to the roar of the crowd, He knew they would turn against Him. What? The same Jesus who knelt down with children, made the outcast feel expensive, and was inclusive of everyone, didn’t trust the crowd. He died for all of us while not trusting us… Do you see how radical this is?
The Bible’s teaching about how messed up EVERY human heart is makes me realistic about both myself and others.
So the first objection is that Christianity is too depressingly Pessimistic… But then we saw how it’s teaching makes us realistic about ourselves and others leading us to humility and compassion when we realize we are all capable of anything.
For a free first session of Godonomics, visit: http://www.godonomics.com/watch-session-1