September 19, 2016
Bombs in Manhattan. Stabbings in St. Cloud. A weekend of football… and terrorism.
It’s Monday morning; so much for starting the week with some “good news” in the headlines. In the old days, we left our doors unlocked; today, a deadbolt does nothing to provide security. Walking down the street – or, through the mall – can be a flirtation with evil.
Your mom was right: there are bad people out there. You can’t be too careful.
A few days ago, it was a mom whose caution was captured, verbatim: “You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of (his) supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right?” (applause and laughter) “The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic – you name it. And unfortunately there are people like that. And he has lifted them up.”
Just a week ago, those comments were in the headlines from the weekend. Today, “Basket of Deplorables” gets 26 million Google results; that’s a whole lot of chatter about a statement made at a private gathering/political fundraiser.
Here’s the interesting factoid: everyone has their own Basket of Deplorables. The line between acceptable and unacceptable exists, for everyone. American Football/European Football; vegan/BBQ; socialist/capitalist; Pacifist/Putin: some distinctions draw a line in the sand that creates opposing sides. Pick an issue; you’ll begin to populate a Basket of Deplorables. The big question: if I’ve created the basket of others… does that isolate Despicable Me?
That quote created a political firefight. The Apostle Paul – speaking for God – wasn’t stumping for votes when he made this observation: “Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God…” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10).
What does it take to be “deplorable,” according to God? Any list of lifestyles is inherently incomplete. While instructive, the universality of error is the inescapable truth: “This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…” (Romans 3:22-23).
“All have sinned” is pretty inclusive. We all use our own values to determine the criterion by which others are excluded; God does that, as it involves integrating people into his family and vetting people for his Eternal Kingdom. His standard: any evidence of unrighteousness – by his definition – is enough to keep us out of his promised future. So… are we doomed to divine deplorability?
Gratefully, there is an antidote: “…And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Corinthians 6:11). “…all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” (Romans 3:24).
God has a solution for the Deplorables (a pretty extensive category: that’s what he calls “humans” who have not yet experienced the overhaul that is offered – without cost – by his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ). The Lord Jesus came from heaven to earth for only one purpose: to move people from the Basket of Deplorables to the Kingdom of God.
We have no power to make that quantum leap on our own: God offers that as a free gift, made possible by Jesus death / burial / resurrection.
My story – your story: formerly Deplorable; now Redeemed, by the grace of God…