I was reading an editorial which brought up the importance of being "civil" in our public dialogue -- especially with those with whom we disagree. Senator Ben Sasse has written about this in his book called Them -- as in "us and them." Sasse suggests that we have entered into a new time in our country in which we not only view those who disagree with us as wrong, but as those who are evil and need to be destroyed. He says that in the past, while we may have disagreed passionately with others, we still tended to view them as fellow citizens who may be wrong, but who still had a right, not only to their opinions, but to simply exist. Sasse wants us to focus more on what we have in common than what divides us and "them."
As Christians, we should hold two truths in tension. The first is that all human beings are made in the image of God. Last Sunday we looked at the book of Genesis and at the garden of Eden story soon after God had created the world and all that was within it -- including Adam and Eve. And God said that it was all "good."
The second thing we need to hold on to is that we are all sinners saved by grace. The season of Lent invites us to reflect on the meaning of our sin and how we have fallen short of the mark. We always reflect on our sinfulness in the context of grace, forgiveness, and the new life that began on the first Easter with the resurrection of Jesus. That gives us the courage and a framework to view our sin. However, the goal is not simply to feel bad about ourselves, but to be honest with ourselves, so that we might open ourselves up to God's amazing grace.
Today, I want to invite all of us to remember that while it may be easy to see the sinfulness in others, especially in those with whom we may disagree -- we also need to remember that all persons, even those with whom we may disagree passionately, are made in the image of God.