By Gerald A. Klingbeil
My teacher left me two pieces of wisdom:
- Never underestimate the enormity of human evil.
- Never underestimate the power of the gospel to overcome the enormity of human evil.
The brokenness of sinful human beings is on display in every arena of our lives.
In the yard, children bicker and complain, asserting ownership of bits of cloth and plastic they call “toys.”
In the workplace, colleagues taunt and deceive, determined to climb a rung on an employment ladder promising success and wealth.
In disputed corners of the earth, guns and bombs emerge to stake the claims of sovereignty and “nation.”
Even in the church, we watch familiar sins of pride and prejudice inflicting pain on those Christ died to save.
As the apostle so aptly framed it: “If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied” (1 Cor. 15:19, NRSV).* Christianity stripped of the news of Jesus’ resurrection—and His resurrection power in our lives—is nothing other than unwarranted optimism in the face of deadly facts.
But the gospel we are called to preach—and live—compels us to acknowledge that the resurrected Lord intends His disciples to experience His transforming power even now in our roles and our relationships.
By His grace, controversialists choose cooler rhetoric. Through His power, enemies forgive each other. Inspired by His example, men and women push back the tide of evil by living with kindness, generosity, and faithfulness.
“We are each a tale of grace,” the poet said. Taken altogether, the countless lives healed and made whole by Jesus’ death and resurrection give the world a frankly hopeful vision of the world soon to come.
As you read this month’s cover story about recovery and restoration after horror and violence, resolve to live, because of grace, one of those resurrected lives.
*Bible texts credited to NRSV are from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. Used by permission.