Do you agree to these terms?

Photo by  Ben Cliff

Photo by Ben Cliff

A couple weeks ago I joked to my boyfriend about how convenient it would be if humans came with a terms and conditions sheet attached.

That way, you could read all the fine print and know exactly what you were signing up for before you developed a friendship. It seems like a good way to avoid problems cropping up later, right?

If you knew everything from the get-go, there would be nothing left to hide. We wouldn’t have to hold onto our secrets or our shame.

The question is, would we agree to these terms before becoming emotionally involved with someone? Would we want to commit if we already knew about their dark insecurities, selfishness, greed, anger or resentment?

What if it was worse than that?

What if the terms of agreement also listed exactly how this person would hurt you in the future? What if there were sub-paragraphs on the second page that outlined all the things they would say about you behind your back, or the ways they would betray your trust?

I don’t think many of us would sign the dotted line.

Yes, we may want to help others. But we’re also very human. If we truly saw the depths of another’s effed-up soul, it would be too much. We couldn’t contemplate signing up for so much heartbreak all at once.

As a matter of fact, would we even be able to face ourselves?

Imagine that when you were born, you were given a full disclosure of every terrible thing you will ever do. Would you still sign up to live with yourself—knowing what you will do, or what you are capable of doing? 

I don’t think I would. I have too many flaws I wish I could live without.

Then it hit me. Jesus already knows all the terms, and he still signed his name to ours. He scanned every page, read every tiny, disgusting detail about our pasts and our futures, and he said yes.

Yes, I want her. Yes, I want him.

In trying to put this into perspective, I came up with a (somewhat weak) analogy:

Imagine you were planning to buy a house. You found the ideal place; it was beautiful, and you fell in love with it. But then your house inspector told you that the building was structurally unsound and was gradually rotting away.

It would cost you every cent you had and then some, to restore the place. However, you knew that if you didn’t buy it, a developer was going to purchase the land and have the house demolished.

You couldn’t bear the thought of it being destroyed, so even though you knew it would demand everything of you, you still signed the mortgage.

Well, Jesus knew everything, and he still signed the dotted line.

In fact, from the very beginning when God created the earth, he knew that humans had the ability to destroy the perfect world he made. But if he hadn't given us the choice to follow him (or not), then both his love for us and ours for him would have been meaningless.

Kind of like building a robot and programming it to say positive, encouraging things about you every day. The words would mean nothing because you had told the robot exactly what to say.

Instead, God chose to have profound relationships with us by letting us receive him. And that meant creating a world that was open to the possibility of corruption.

He wanted to give us a chance to sign our names beside his too.

God has stamped his sense of right and wrong into every atom of the world he created. He must deal with injustice. If he didn’t, he wouldn’t be a true, holy and perfect God. 

And yet, he also gave us a way out, so we don’t have to be destroyed. Jesus took all of humanity’s violence, humiliation and corruption upon himself and was punished in our place so that we have a chance at freedom.

Not only can we escape God’s ultimate justice by accepting the grace offered to us through Christ—he also gives us the power to change.

No one is past hope. No matter how sick or twisted our pasts may be, God can heal our wounds and scars and give us beautiful, pure hearts and minds.

We don’t have to be trapped in an endless battle of doing things we hate and wishing we could be better people. The Holy Spirit working in us allows us to actually resist our sinful nature and live joyful, unhindered lives.

I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.
— Ezekial 36:25-27

I’ve written about how tangible this freedom is before. In Christ, we can have courage to make bold decisions and live the beautiful lives he intended for us.

Jesus has read the small print. He knows exactly what he's in for, but he still signed up.

And he offers us a new set of terms; a chance to become the kind of people we could never be on our own.

Ilana ReimerComment