So much of what has caused mankind to stumble through the ages is that we have inappropriately placed ourselves at the center of life where God Himself desires to reside and function.
The following quote gets to the heart of this problem:
In this fallen way of life, people and things have worth only to the extent that they fill us. Instead of simply ascribing unsurpassable worth to others because the Creator does, we ascribe limited worth to people depending on our judgment of them. Do these people love me? Do they please me? Do they benefit me? Do they affirm me? Do they agree with my opinions? We are the ones who declare that someone or something is good or evil, for we have set ourselves up as the center around which everything revolves, and therefore, the standard against which everything is measured. “For man in the state of disunion,” Bonhoeffer says, “good consists in passing judgment, and the ultimate criterion is man himself. Knowing good an evil, man is essentially judge.”
Every judgment we think, speak, or act upon presupposes that we are in a position of superiority over the person we judge. It presupposes that we are “god” relative to the person or thing we judge. The judgment is illegitimate because in reality we are not god to anyone. We are not the center of anyone’s life. Furthermore, the judgement is inaacurrate because in reality we are not wise like God. We cannot know what God knows. And the judgement is invariably self-serving, for we are using it to fill the God-shaped vacuum in our lives.
Our judgement cuts us off from our true source of life, and the person we judge becomes a source of life for us. Our condemnation of that person, whether it be about a major lifestyle issue or a minor matter of appearance, gives us a momentary feeling of worth, of superiority, of fullness – of deity. Though we are in fact empty, we can, at least in our own minds, stand over someone for a moment. Though we ourselves are sinners, we can, at least for a moment, drink from the well of believing that at least we are not “like that person.” However bad we may fell about ourselves, the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil has something to feed us, at least for the moment.
If we are to live the life God intends for us, if we are to participate in the ecstatic love of the triune God, God must be restored as the center of our lives. We must die to ourselves as center, die to our addiction to idols, and die to the perpetual judgments we entertain in our minds. God can only be our source of life when he is the center of our lives. So long as we thrust ourselves into the center, we will be forced to seek life from idols, juding good and evil, and thus be cut off from our source center. We will live a life that is actually death. The only way to discover true life is to die to the “life” of living as the center and be restored ot our true source center (Matt. 10:39; 16:25; cf. Gal. 2:19-20).
~ Greg Boyd in Repenting of Religion
Well, that’s something to think about this week…
Questions for discussion:
~ What part of this quote stands out the most to you?
~ What does this mean to you in practical daily life?
Follow the Life!