Modern interpretation of scripture offers several opportunities for Christians to contextualize the gospel into their realities so as to grasp the inner message and perfect their conduct to match biblical standards. In the same manner comes the need for people to look into the gospel for the message of hope which will sail them through disappointing experiences.
Jesus restored the lives of many with aspects of grace and dignity. Human dignity is something often ignored by many systems and structures applicable in our modern society in seeking to restore positive life and relations with all. In the eyes of many, dignity becomes an imperative aspect of God’s presence, and is a revelation to humanity through an individual. When Jesus restores sight to the blind and life to Lazarus, not only did they become equal to their partners but gained the favor of encountering Jesus and respect of the community in which they lived because their previous status didn’t offer them the complete humane consideration in the understanding of their fellows.
A few weeks ago, when I visited Kamina to lead a seminar at Kamina Methodist University with the General Board of Church and Society, I was moved by the stories and experiences of several young women studying there. One of the ladies I met told me her life story, she is an orphan and had come to study in Kamina with no family or friends within 400kms. She came with the hope of gaining a scholarship, but realities proved otherwise and she had been forced to work in people’s gardens, farms and yards so to earn food. This sustained her only for a year until she gave in to prostitution so as to earn more to pay her fees and accommodation. Being new to the profession, she got pregnant and had no other option than to give birth and stop attending classes for a year. She was living in such desperate conditions that the father of the child ran away, and she had no communication with her family.
The turning point of her life story occurred after listening to a sermon at the university about Jesus restoring sight to Bartholomew. She felt that there was a need for her to develop a relationship with God, and as she started attending church, a priest learned about her life, and offered to sponsor her studies and meet her financial needs. Going through the experience of keeping a child, whose father ran away, and having to stop schooling while living in desperate circumstances was a moment of humiliation and great suffering, but the redemptive grace of God restored her dignity and standing in society by doing what her fellows are doing and going beyond what she considered the limitations of her life.
As we go through life, there are challenging times when the winds threaten to blow our boat away to the shore, but if we have our eyes focused on God and are transparent with Him about our experiences, His grace will save us and restore our dignity and standing in human society. What people see is not the inner you, but your heart knows the truth and should be rejoicing when you encounter God in your time of need. The legion possessed man was restored to a positive state of mind by recognizing the power and personality of Christ. We have an open invitation comes to value those rejected by our society for God is still working and His works aren’t finished yet.