The Christian resolution to find the world ugly and bad has made the world ugly and bad. Friedrich Nietzsche
I can not count on my hands how many times I have sabotaged and undermined my own opportunities for success in this life. The Friedrich Nietzsche quote posted above might raise a few eye brows, but it posits a significant point, which I would summarize by saying, "we see the world as we are, not as it is." I think that is true. When we look for the bad, we find it. When we focus on the good, we find that as well. It's a question of intention, or in the language of quantum physics, it's called the observer effect. The act of judging, observing, or measuring some type of phenomena can bias its outcome. Self-fulfilling prophecy and the observer effect have much in common.
The idea of the self-fulfilling prophecy has played a major role in helping us understand the link between beliefs and behaviors, including intention and corresponding actions. I once preached on this subject by summarizing it this way, "our lives always move in the direction of our most dominant thoughts." In understanding the link between the two, we can develop an understanding that helps us improve our intentions. If all we see is evil, because that is what our theology and doctrine demand from us, then we begin to view everyone as an adversary. Any other perspective is deemed unfaithful or heretical.
Following the example of Christ is anything but easy. Some people will invoke Jesus’s anger at the money changers in the temple to prop up their angry God theology. I’ve studied the 4 synoptic gospels, I do not walk away from the experience with idea that God is just another run-of-the-mill diety who has nothing better to do than pick on us poor humans for breaking his rules. That is not the Abba of Jesus.
When Jesus is tested by the Pharisees with the woman caught in the act of adultry, he stuns everyone with his words of wisdom, but most importantly, his words of forgiveness to her. That is an amazing example of God’s grace triumphing over the petty religious judgements of people who were afraid to lose their power and position because of the spiritual authority and majesty of Christ Jesus. The Spirit of Life has set us free from the law of sin and death. That is really Good News!
In closing, I am reminded how important it is to have the “Mind of Christ” so I can avoid what Job experienced in Job 3:25 when he said, “that thing I feared has come upon me.”
Be blessed my beloved friends.
Pastor Jeremy E.