I was with my small group having bible study the other night, and as we were talking I put into words what I think many of us know, but are scared to admit: Humanity has both the tendency for that which is bad and the capacity and partiality towards that which is good. Simultaneously, we desire evil and joy but for very different reasons.
Racism is good example. When I look at racism, I see some of the greatest evil in human history. The hardest part about racism for me is how comfortable some people are with it. It feels like they want it. It seems racism represents the "bad" that humanity wants. But, as I think about why racism exists in our world, why, even, some people seem to want racism, I remember that people like "easy." And racism is certainly easy. To be racist requires next to nothing from us. We simply care about ourselves first, then those most like us all the while rejecting those who are different from us. It can feel so natural.
But we desire goodness. We see it when tragedy hits and we all step up to sacrifice for that those affected. We are proud of our accomplishment and we feel a joy and completeness that is otherwise missing from our hearts. We desire goodness, too, but it requires work to accomplish. Goodness is not always natural. For this reason, I love this passage of scripture from Micah 6:
He has told you, human one, what is good and what the Lord requires from you:
to do justice, embrace faithful love, and walk humbly with your God.
Justice, love, and God are good. To do justice, to embrace others in love, and to walk with God is how we live out this goodness. And it's not always easy. it requires action from us to make a reality, actions which force us out of our comfort zone.
It's a good thing we don’t walk it by ourselves. God walks with us.
The irony here is that to live into goodness, we still care about those most like us by realizing we were all created in the image of God. That alone makes us more alike than any set of human criteria which we believe pulls us apart. We are so much more alike than we give ourselves credit for, and this likeness was instilled in us in our creation. We have each been given grace, salvation and redemption, and each of us is uniquely loved by Jesus Christ.
The church can and should take the lead and be the change we want to see in the world by breaking down walls and divisions society has inextricably put up out of a sense of fear and comfort. In all of this, we must remind those we interact with to walk faithfully with God, and doing so requires us to love with all our hearts and to seek justice when the world doing just the opposite.
By God's grace and through the power of the cross, we can lead others to live out the goodness we all desparately want.