portlandia-2

This morning’s devotion comes from Josh Bascom.

The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they have committed abominable deeds; There is no one who does good. The Lord has looked down from heaven upon the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. They have all turned aside, together they have become corrupt; There is no one who does good, not even one (ESV)

Modernity’s demand for political correctness has created a culture in which we thirst for and command equality. Whether it comes in the form of open-mindedness towards race, criminal history, gender, religious belief or sexual orientation, we operate under the expectation to accept our neighbor as our equal or become the black sheep ourselves. In order to accomplish this we’re asked to dig deep within ourselves and learn to tolerate each other’s differences so that we may live together harmoniously. Not only does this commandment create yet another mindset for us to rebel against, it merely accomplishes a façade of tolerance towards those around us and does little to move our hearts towards truly loving one another.

I met a homeless man a few months ago with a history of unspeakable offenses and addictions that he still struggles with to this day. Our friendship began under the framework of my feeble attempt to “dutifully” love my neighbor, but thankfully developed into something much more sincere. At the same time of our encounter I happened to be reading through Martin Luther’s Bondage of the Will and had thus been thinking of our inabilities to merely will ourselves away from evil towards good. This was remarkable. In the context of my newly forged friendship, the darkness of the human condition proved to be mankind’s only true source of equality. This man, at first glance appearing to be from an entirely different level of despair, was no more or less broken than myself.

No more deserving of the grace of God, no more capable of fulfilling what the law requires, my friend and I have been forgiven just the same. I no longer viewed him as someone I should merely tolerate, but rather a brother I could love. The beauty of the Gospel is that it shows us to be the moral equivalent of everyone other than Christ, which enables genuine friendships and true love for our neighbor. We are all equally fallen and equally forgiven.