Three years ago, I was sitting in my basement. Alone, depressed, betrayed, I wallowed in self-pity all summer long. Like a good melodramatic young adult, I had just had my heartbroken. I sat in front of the TV and watched reruns of What Not To Wear for hours. I had begun a mental love affair with Clinton Kelly, I just wanted to be him. Who wouldn’t want to have thousands of dollars for clothes, a glorious haircut and a personality to die for? Day after day, hour after hour in front of the TV, chicken salad after salad, I continued to fall deeper into an apathetic state of life. That summer, I began listening to Greg Boyd. Greg was doing a series of talks on identity in Christ, on human worth. One hot August day, I was listening to the podcast and my heart, my mind and my soul nearly exploded. The truth of the message finally seeped in and for the first time in my life I experienced the love of God. What I can promise to anyone of the Christian faith is that moments like this don’t happen very often.
Richard Rohr once said something like this “I am not good because I am good. I am good because God is good.” This is the truth of Christianity. When we receive God we receive the healing powers, the vitality of life, the hope for everyday existence. We receive forgiveness which allows us to extend it. We are transformed from the inside out. It says something about this God who wants us to experience him. It says a lot about God who wants us to receive healing, vitality, hope. It says a lot about what God thinks of us. It also says a lot about us and what God sees in us. Things we don’t see in ourselves.
This is the beauty of God on the Cross. God decided that human beings were worth so much that he wanted to die for them. God decided that he loved every human being so much that he didn’t want to be without them. This is the beauty of the God who not only fought the oppressive powers of the world then but still does now, on our behalf. When we can begin to receive this constant love affair that God has with us, we begin to see the value of human life. The value of our life.
Jesus sustains the value of human life by raising from the dead. He is the source of hope that this life does not have to continue in an apathetic, self-degrading and violent way. Jurgen Moltmann once said “When the hope for common life ends, the killing begins.” Day after we encounter violence, we encounter suicide, we encounter the hopelessness of life and Jesus still says “you’re worth it.” “I am with you.” “A new day is coming.”
This is the example that we see in God. A God who is slaughtered innocently. A God who walks through hell, just to come back and say “I am with you, let me show you a better way.” When we can receive this God, we can find the value of our own life, the value of the life around us.