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On the meaning of life

on May 20, 2006

This was sparked by something I read and replied to on Ry’s journal, so this is the longer, more complete version of that.

Life is a bit crap a lot of the time. Some days it feels like everyone has it in for you. Sometimes it feels like life is just about getting hurt and that it never gets any better. On a large scale, countries get bombed, there are pedophile rings, women are repressed, people of various colours, ethnicities and religions are the subject of discrimination. On a small scale, life is boring, or lonely, or exhausting… or all three… well you can insert your own woes here.

Surely life wasn’t intended to be just miserable? Or just about living for that half hour of free time when we can do something we actually like? About being walked on by other people? About losing our will to live?

I think that’s what we have made it, to some extent… pieces of us get broken and hurt and scarred, and somtimes repressed or hidden to the extent that we thought they were dead. I don’t know anyone who isn’t “damaged” in some way – including me in that.

When God made humans he told them they were to be in charge of the earth, rule it on his behalf – like children running part of their father’s estate. Unfortunately we messed up – no one could say that the way we act now represents a loving, creative God’s plan toward the earth or towards each other. We stopped caring about the way God wanted his estate to be run – we stopped listening to him altogether. We got separated from him and then from each other and started hurting and suppressing each other, and everything else.

If that was your estate, wouldn’t you be ticked off? Bet you’d want to do something about these unruly kids who are not just hurting each other (your family!) but making a mess of – get this – their own inheritance.

When Jesus spoke in the synagogue for the first time, at the very start of his going around preaching and healing, here’s what he said (my paraphrase):

“God has chosen me to tell you the good news: there is freedom for prisoners, sight for the blind and healing for the broken-hearted; because God loves you he is going to do something about the way life has turned out.”

You wouldn’t know it from a lot of the modern church, but that‘s what God meant with Christianity. Healing. Freedom. A chance to let him restore all the bits that get broken. A chance to be with him and start doing the whole “ruling the earth under him” thing again.

So that’s what I believe life is about. Knowing God. Which leads to becoming more like him, so we can treat others (both people and things) the way he intended.


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