“That’s it! I’m out of here!!!” screamed Doris stomping out of the coffee time after our service. People gaped, gobsmacked at this out-of-character behaviour.
A line manager spoils the chances of someone getting promotion, threatened by her underling excelling; a political leader votes against a decision for the better common good, worried about the opposition getting their own way; a parent forces an offspring into a career choice thinking they know what’s best for their (over 18) child; a neighbour flies off the handle for no apparent reason; a church leader spreads half-truths about someone to halt their growing popularity in the congregation. Countless scenarios of insecurity, which lead to dissension, division and the breakdown of relationships, families, communities, churches, work-places, even nations.
Jesus said life is all about learning “to love God with your all and your neighbour as yourself” The Living that Jesus comes to gift and grow in and through us.
Yesterday, Callum Henderson of Comfort Rwanda shared on their excellent work with orphans and communities wrecked by the genocide of 1994, when over 800,000 people were murdered throughout Rwanda. The vast majority were Tribe Tutsi, but moderate Hutu, and others were also targeted. Within each of us lies both the potential for great evil and innate ability to understand, love, forgive and be reconciled. Tragically, tribal and individual insecurities can sink people to terrible depths of depravity in an attempt to protect supposed self-interest. Yet here is a widow embracing, in forgiveness, the man who murdered her husband!
David’s Kingdom of Israel was torn in two by kings Reheboam and Jereboam. Insecurities of identity and possessiveness of land (northern Israel and southern Judah) set them against each other and apart from God. Predecessor King Solomon’s lackadaisical, ‘hot tub’, comfort hugging complacency sowed the seeds of division, giving rise to brother pitted against brother and tribe against tribe. Such devastation cries out for Servant King Jesus Christ, coming centuries later to restore our human dignity and identity as ‘beloved daughters and sons of God Almighty’.
Jesus, “Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage, something to cling to or be grasped, stepped down from his throne and took the nature of a servant!” (Philippians 2)
Secure in who we are, as beloved children, we learn to love God with our all and our neighbour as self. Till then we can be so tied up by inner issues and crises that there isn’t time nor energy to consider others before self. Such Confidence in Christ can be torpedoed by bereavement, illness, work-loss, world events, rabid attacks, etc. Then it’s critical to have boundaries and disciplines to protect and boost soul security (e.g. prayer, weekly worship, fellowship, Bible input, etc.). For God’s Peace to prosper in our families, congregations, communities, nations and world we need leaders sure of who and whose they are, and free ‘to love as their loved’.
Fortunately, when Doris stomped out, we worked out it was a year since her husband died. We didn’t take offense, rather reached out to support. But without ‘Soul Security’ and ‘Soul Care’, misunderstandings and divisions will multiply. The Secure Servant King Jesus shows us the way of bridge-building forgiveness.