I’m writing this on a plane headed for Cape Town. As I sit here I think about the many stories that fill this cabin of crowded anonymity. Beyond the appearance of the well-groomed people who fill airline cabins on Monday mornings I wonder what joy and sorrow sits in the seats around me. What is the burden of the airhostess who brought me water with a forced smile and troubled eyes? What drives the two businessmen sitting behind me passionately discussing their meetings for the day? What scars does the grey haired man sleeping two rows in front of me carry?
People are not what they appear to be?
Most of us feel the gap between who we are and who we pretend to be. Sadly, rather than trying to narrow that gap, we settle for managing it. We hide in whispered conversations or behind cell phone and computer screens. All the while we smile and wave in boardroom meetings and at civilised dinner tables, grateful for the duplicity that the sociological “closed doors” of our time allow us. We are a Jekyll and Hyde generation worn down by the internal chaos of a soul in conflict with itself.
Jesus sees us as we are, not as we pretend to be.
In Christ we find an ocean of redemption that brings relief to our conflicted souls. In Christ we find love at work, bridging the gap between our intended nature and our fallen state. Management will not do when transformation is possible. And transformation is possible in Him. This is why Jesus sets the standard so high in passages like Matthew 5: 27-30.
“You have heard that it was said… but I say to you…”
It seems as if Jesus raises the stakes from difficult to impossible. Why? Does he mean to burden us beyond what we are able to bare? Of course not, He sets the standard beyond our ability to eliminate any hope of self-salvation. Jesus holds us to a holy standard because He is the holy provision in whom we find a holiness of our own.
You have heard it said that suppression is the norm; but I say to you, redemption is possible.