Have you noticed all the traffic along highway 217 this summer? Along the entire stretch of the highway, there is work being done to make some more room for the future- which means for now, we’re squished. This week, on 217, I got my first dose of Oregon road rage. One car didn’t let another car merge, and the rage burst loose- there was shouting, there were rude signs out of windows, the whole nine yards.
It made me think of something. I’ve seen two lines merge into one line at Costco, but I’ve never seen road rage at Costco. Why is that? It’s because when we’re not anonymously and safely in our cars, we’re forced to see each other as real people- people with feeling and emotion.
Our sinful natures are like that. At every opportunity where it doesn’t cost us, we dehumanize people and we use them. They become wallets to be opened, bodies to be oggled, an obstacle to be overcome. Paul didn’t go easy on us and that part of our sinful nature. He said this in Colossians 3:6- “Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.” This is true.
What’s also true is that that’s why God sent Jesus. It’s why he sent his Son. God knew it was bad. He saw it clearly. That’s why he didn’t send us a teacher. We need a lot more than the right set of instructions. It’s why he didn’t set up a reform school. We needed a lot more help than a strict regimen. It’s why he sent us a Savior. He sent us a Savior who absorbed all the wrath that was looming. He sent us a Savior who took and took and took for all our taking. He sent us a Savior who was used and used and used for all our using. He sent us a Savior who for the first time in world history treated everybody like they were people.
And no, I didn’t get off track here- this is still a blurb about how we can see people as real people. You know how that happens? It’s counterintuitive (like the gospel always is!). You focus on the things above. You focus on Christ and what he has done for you in your every day life, and the people in this world will become less objects to be used, and more people to be loved for Jesus’ sake.
I’ll send you out with these promises of God:
Colossians 3:1-4 “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. “
3 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your[a] life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.[b] 7 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8 But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self,which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11 Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.
12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.