One of the things I find to be most true in life is this: Something is only as good as the counterpoint that it offers. When we look at the people who hurt us the most, they’re often the people who we love the most. Being found, in someone, something, only comes upon after the realization that we are lost. We don’t find or seek real peace or justice, until we ourselves have been disturbed or suffered injustice. Faith isn’t true faith, unless there is a bit of uncertainty. Certainty gives away to absolutes, but, faith is painful requires a confident or desperate leap into the uncertain. Lastly, Hope isn’t Hope, until we are Hopeless. If we weren’t hopeless, in ourselves or the situations around us, then we would perfectly know things would work out. This is my greatest love with Jesus. He is the King of Hope. He is the symbol of Hope. Yet, when I look around me, around Christianity, there is immense hopelessness (which breaks my heart and gives me hope).
The Christianity I grew up in and am still around was largely hopeless. I was taught that (as Dallas Willard has wonderfully coined it) we are to abide in the Gospel of Sin Management. This belief comes from learning to bite your lip, endure and try and escape the very thing you are struggling with. I need to stop doing this sin and then I’ll be a better Christian. There is this belief that this sin has power over us and we need to just stop doing it. We need to learn how to contain our sins. And, while I do not advise sinning, this mentality that I am the victim to my own sinful nature does not sit well with the message of Jesus. There is no hope there.
And, this is my love affair with Jesus. Jesus moved towards the hopeless of life because he knows that death has no power over life. Jesus ministry, Jesus life, Jesus death, Jesus resurrection all surrounded around the idea that when everything seems lost, hopeless, worthless, when death and evil have one, this is where Jesus prevails. Jesus ministry prevails not through the intellectual and social elite but through the bottom of society. Jesus life was found in his own poverty, in the poverty of others. Jesus died but Jesus came back to life. All was hopeless but he showed true hope by prevailing through this.
This is why we must learn to move beyond our own apathy and into contemplation, community and action. When we view that this life is hopeless and we are waiting to die so we can get to heaven, we slap Jesus in the face because our lives were not transformed into his image. When we continue to abuse ourselves and those around us, we know nothing of hope, nothing of resurrection. A Christianity of hope knows nothing of the virtuous life that we are called to live in “Faith, Hope and Love”. Hope is the energy that gives away to the Biblical Promise that all things will be made new.
Jurgen Moltmann said it best when he said this “As long as hope does not embrace and transform the thought and action of men, it remains topsy-turvy and ineffective.”
May we live in this hope.