Why So Sad?

The title of this post is from one of my favorite songs in Hamilton. Confession, King George is my favorite in the musical. His question is really quite revealing about the King in this song, because it captures how disconnected from reality the King was with the Colonies. He did not understand the people, and by the power of his position as Regent of his empire, he didn’t consider it something he had to care about.

I find this line of thinking common amongst those with some claim to power. We all see it I am sure. In the intellectual circles I run in its almost always related to church or theology. It’s common in the big church pastor who doesn’t quite get why people no longer want to fund the building program. It’s common in the Calvinist who cannot understand why the Arminian doesn’t understand how right he is (and vice versa). It’s common in the Protestant who cannot fathom how Catholics can claim Christ at all. It’s common in the Evangelical who cannot understand that other Evangelicals did not vote for Trump, and that some even voted for Hillary.

Lord Acton said “that power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Unfortunately this seems to be proven true again and again, and while I care about the dismissing of those who are “less than” in most facets of the world, I care more about it in the Church. When we consider ourselves more important than others, and we have to if we view ourselves as powerful, we cut off discussion with those who are not up to our level. We do not make headway, and we fracture the diverse Body of Christ. That’s why we see so many people screaming at others about how right they are, and the other people tuning them out (or screaming back), and no dialogue or understanding actually happens.

The Christ-follower who wants to be like Jesus should heed His example: He humbled Himself, removing Himself from a position of power, and died on a cross. This complete emptying of Himself is called the kenosis and is taken from that Greek word in Philippians 2:7, where Paul said that Jesus emptied Himself of all His divine attributes. Jesus gave up power to reconcile humanity. He emptied Himself for us.

As Christ-followers, we have no power compared to what Jesus gave up. Colossians 1:15-20 explained Jesus power, and the Book of Hebrews exalted how much better Christ is than all other things. Why is it that we cannot condescend to those who are “less than” us, showing them grace and love, and pursuing reconciliation and unity? That’s what Jesus prayed for His church, unity; so why is it so easy to pull a King George? We look at those “peasants” beneath us without trying to understand them, or include them in our groups. Why is it so difficult to disagree and remain friends?

It took the King fighting a war to finally get that the American problem wouldn’t just go away, and the people didn’t see him as their superior. What is it going to take for us to lay down our self-perceived power (or power given to us by others) for the sake of the Gospel of love?

Maybe we would benefit by continually asking ourselves “what would Jesus do?” when it comes to understanding others and remember what He did do to reconcile humanity. I think of myself as a vile, horrendous offender of God, who disagrees with Him continually, but is loved and redeemed regardless. I have begun to pray more fervently the same thing that Jesus prayed for us: unity. God made for Himself a diverse Body, perhaps it’s ok that we do not all see things the same way.

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