Dear Church Family:
Mark 3 records the story of a man with a
“withered hand” who attended Sabbath services
where Jesus was. Present also were religious
officials who were watching Jesus to accuse Him
of Sabbath breaking. We Adventists have rightly
made this story to show activities appropriate on
Sabbath. But I want to focus on another subject.
Following a challenge question concerning whether
it is lawful to do good and save a life, and the religionists’ silence,
verse 5 says that:

“Jesus looked around at them with anger,
being grieved by the hardness of their hearts.”
Troubling text: Jesus angry (Gr.: orge). Because He was grieved,
deeply saddened.

Dehumanization and the Grief of Jesus
A week ago, I saw an older homeless man finishing a cigarette at the
corner of University and 289 before begging at the stop light in the
cold wind. Dehumanized in people’s minds: no longer human; only a
category: “black,” “smoker.” I also noticed something similar even in
my “generosity:” that same day, I also saw another homeless man on
a bike with a trailer filled with some poor but well-organized
possessions. I stopped to give. But even in this act of generosity, I had
dehumanized him: he was a well-organized, pedaling, in other words,
a meritorious homeless. An acquaintance’s daughter who recently
was in jail had been in the hospital for emergency. She needed
friendship from Jesus and His helpers. But not a word of inquiry;
ignored, unwelcome on the planet, buried alive, dehumanized, no
longer a human; only a category.

Texts held sacred have been used to justify judgments, fears, harm,
discrimination, dehumanization against all kinds of humans. We mouth
about the love of God, and that we’re all equal sinners at the foot of
the cross. We all lose when we exclude others who are part of us.

“Orge”: a word used to describe the “wrath” of God. Not against
smokers or other such types. In Mark 3: 5, God’s wrath was against
religionists who excluded because of “biblical” heart hardness. But
good thing for us that God never dehumanizes His children, even the
people with their Bible in their hand as on the left side of the picture.
God sees you as you are: a human child whom He loves as you love
your own. Maybe that’s why God gives us children whom we still
love, to help us learn read the Bible the right way.

These past six months: we have reviewed that Jesus welcomed and
included: the Samaritan Woman, the Great Supper Table, the
Demoniac, the Unmerciful Servant who would not overlook $100
after being forgiven millions. Most importantly, let us not miss on the
grief of God who made us “red and yellow, black and white” and who
accepts us all as “precious in His sight.”

With Love,
Pastor Sam