By Scott Hearn
I’m sure your heart and soul are still reeling from the events in Charlottesville last weekend, as mine are. Yes, the events that unfolded there are evidence that we suffer from a deep divide in our country. They also reveal that that divide is only getting wider and more destructive.
The events in Charlottesville also reveal something even deeper and more profound, and that is that we live in a fallen and broken world. Our world no longer meets the manufacturer’s original standards.
God created humanity to live in a trusting relationship with him. But Adam and Eve felt like there was something more, that God was holding out on them. They broke trust with their creator, took matters into their own hands, and creation, nor our relationship with God and each other, have ever been the same.
We still live with the notion that we know what’s best and that we have the ability to fix things. We don’t. Charlottesville reveals this. We want to establish a committee, commission a council or have a church service. While those may be helpful and bring about some change, it’s not change we need.
What we need is transformation. We need the old to be gone and the new to come. And that is simply not in us.
The problem is we think it is. We think we can love our neighbor as ourselves. It’s not in us.
We need to invite a power greater than ourselves that is separate from us, to come into us and do for us what we cannot do for ourselves.
As the old saying goes, the only place the ground is level is at the foot of the cross. It’s only when we humbly beg our creator to help us see our world and our neighbor through his eyes that transformation will be again. It’s only when we realize the things all of us have in common exponentially outweigh our differences.
What do we have in common? We are all made in the image of a loving and holy God. All of us are broken. None of us measure up. And Jesus died on a cross for all of us.
What would relationships begin to look like if we began seeing each other in that light? How would you treat someone if first you paused and remembered, “This person in front of me is someone for whom Christ died. And yes they are imperfect, just like me.”
God is the only one with the ability to fix a problem he did not create. But he will only enter where he is invited. God promises this in 2 Chronicles 7: 14: “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
We’ve made a mess of it. Not only did we see that in Charlottesville, we see it in the news every day.
Let’s invite the only one who can truly redeem our county and world. And let’s invite him to begin with us.
The Rev. Scott Hearn is the senior pastor at Gainesville First United Methodist Church in Gainesville.