I’ve been writing this particular post in my head for quite some time and decided I should finally assemble and post it. The final thoughts started to come together about a month ago when I listened to a message that referenced Jonah’s story. It’s one that has kind of fascinated me, especially once I got past the flannelgraph version.
The scene is on a hill overlooking Nineveh. Jonah has finally done what he’s been asked to do, yet his heart obviously wasn’t in the job. Or, more accurately, he didn’t have God’s heart for people or the value of life. He’s mad that God didn’t go nuclear on the city and God confronts him regarding the value of the lives of those people – and the value of life. Jonah, you see, is quite the bigot and thinks that only the privileged and chosen should be redeemed. Everyone else can, quite literally, go to hell in a handbasket.
So, amidst the continuous barrage of “fill-in-the-blank lives matter” I started thinking about the whole concept. I think at the heart of the problem is a human condition that, much like Jonah, fails to recognize that life (not just lives) matters. Everything else is an extension of that and so, when I don’t value the life in someone else – regardless of their color or creed or whatever – I fail to see life the way God looks at it. If I really believe he is the Creator and that all human life bears his Image, it ought to make me act and react differently to others. It ought to help me curb my anger and indifference and realize that, much like those lives in Nineveh, there are people out there who don’t know up from down, left from right or evil from good. And the LIFE in those people bears the Image of the Almighty.
The Crooked Path is a journey and I will have the opportunity to influence and lift up many people. Some of them will be the most disenfranchised and dejected people I’ve ever met, and to them I need to pay extra special attention. It may be that God has placed me there because of the great value he sees in their life and has given me the grand opportunity to help them see their Creator, perhaps for the first time.