Thursday, September 17, 2009

on sin, borders, and global Christianity

Gradually it was disclosed to me that the line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either, but right through every human heart, and through all human hearts.

Alexander Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago (1973)
I thought about this quotation frequently the whole time that I was in the Middle East, and especially while I was in Jerusalem. Does Solzhenitsyn's observation stand when measured against Scripture?

I tend to think that it does.

Last night I was thinking about it again while reading Colossians 3:1-11:
1 If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.

5 Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, 7 in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them.

8 But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, 10 and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, 11 where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.
Do we analyze other men by nationality, class, or political affiliation, or by basic depravity? Do we look at others based on their relation to us or on their relation to Christ?

4 comments:

Jack said...

Hrm. How do we look at their relation to Christ, though?

mle said...

What bothers me is lumping a group of people together as "the enemy" or "evil," and thereby excluding them from compassion or neglecting to think of them as in need of the truth and love of Christ.

Jack said...

Ah, certainly.
So, am I right in thinking that asking the "relation to Christ" is a way to accomplish that--the answer isn't easy to find, but in asking it we must change the way we understand the person in question--?

Jack said...

(a more "evangelical" approach: is to ask "what's Christ's relationship to this person?" the first step in asking "how can I _be_ Christ to this person?")