The movie Mouse Hunt was a staple growing up in the Giese house. At the beginning of the movie, the protagonist, a renowned chef, hosts the mayor at his restaurant, but to his demise, a cockroach escapes from an old cigar box and makes its way onto the mayor’s plate – it cost him everything he had. The meal was exquisite, but it only took one roach to ruin the whole thing.
We’ve been exploring how all humans are capable of great evil, yet still do incredibly beautiful things. It’s tempting to approach this as if they were on opposite sides of a scale. “As long as the beautiful things I do outweigh the evil things, then I’m good to go.” But how many cockroaches were needed to ruin the meal?
So if the scale approach doesn’t work, we quickly find ourselves with Jesus’ words at the sermon on the mount.
“You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:48
But this call is to more than just perfection of outward actions but also to perfection of our desires (hating your brother is an equal cause for guilt as murdering your brother; looking lustfully at someone is an equal cause for guilt as committing adultery).
I encourage you to read the sermon in its entirety (Matthew chapters 5 through 7) and to try to live it out and to fully obey the commands Jesus gives. The sermon in isolation is haunting because we know we aren’t perfect.
So where do we go from here?
A friend of mine guest preached this past weekend, and I loved the climax of his message.
“If it’s not about us and our best efforts it cannot be about us and our worst failures. It’s about him. Always has been. Always will be. That’s why God sent his only son Jesus to walk among us, to live a perfect sinless life, to fulfill that law, and then go and die a heinous sinner’s death on the cross that you and I rightfully earned so that he could rise from the grave three days later victorious over sin and death. That’s what it’s about. Not us and how good or bad we think we measure up to the standard. It’s about him and in this there can be no confusion about where the credit lies or where the glory goes. One hundred percent of it goes to the God of Jacob.”
We’ve spent the past few weeks looking at how can the darkness and beauty of humans coexist, but maybe we’ve been focusing on the wrong thing because it’s not about us. My dad and I have long agreed that Romans 11:32 is one of the most fascinating bible verses, and it highlights this principle:
“For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all.” Romans 11:32
God consigned. God showed mercy. It is about Him, and friends, this is the best news we can hear because God is a God of relationship, so when it’s about him, it becomes about him and his desire to bring the world he loves into a relationship with himself.