In Christ Alone

Like our ancestors, we have sinned.
We have done wrong! We have acted wickedly!
Our ancestors in Egypt
were not impressed by the Lord’s miraculous deeds.
They soon forgot his many acts of kindness to them.
Instead, they rebelled against him at the Red Sea

[. . .]  
The people made a calf at Mount Sinai;
they bowed before an image made of gold.
They traded their glorious God
for a statue of a grass-eating bull.
They forgot God, their savior,
who had done such great things in Egypt—
such wonderful things in the land of Ham,
such awesome deeds at the Red Sea.
So he declared he would destroy them.
But Moses, his chosen one, stepped between the Lord and the people.
He begged him to turn from his anger and not destroy them. (Psalm 106:6–7, 19–23 NLT)

Bryan Stevenson, the founder of the Equal Justice Initiative writes, “We are all broken by something. We have all hurt someone and have been hurt. We all share the condition of brokenness even if our brokenness is not equivalent. [. . .] Sometimes we’re fractured by the choices we make; sometimes we’re shattered by things we would never have chosen. But our brokenness is also the source of our common humanity, the basis for our shared search for comfort, meaning, and healing. Our shared vulnerability and imperfection nurtures and sustains our capacity for compassion.” He goes on to say, “There is no wholeness outside of our reciprocal humanity.”

There is some truth in this, but it is ultimately incomplete. While we as people cannot be whole if we ignore the humanity of all our neighbors, it is not this acknowledgement of our shared humanity – or even the acknowledgement of the imago Dei imprinted upon each of us – that will bind our collective wounds. It is in Christ, and Christ alone, where we find wholeness.

All of us are broken people. As Stevenson points out, some of that brokenness is due to our own choices and some due to the choices of others, and all of us are broken in different ways, but none of us is whole. We like to feel superior as we point to some of the choices made by the Israelites, such as building a golden calf to worship instead of the God who led them out of Egypt, but as the psalmist points out, we, too, are people who have acted wickedly. Just because our wicked deeds are of a different sort than our ancestors does not make us better than them, or any worse. “As the Scriptures say, ‘No one is righteous—not even one’” (Romans 3:10).

None of us are whole, except in Christ alone. No one will ever find peace, outside of Christ. We are all broken people who commit wicked deeds, but in Christ, we are reshaped, molded into reflections of God’s perfect son. In Christ, and him alone, we find healing, forgiveness, and a new way of life that not only has the power to transform us but also our world.
Michael Benson is the NAB communications director.