He linked to an article titled, "Dick Cheney Defends the Torture of Innocents" about interrogation techniques used by the CIA. I didn't read the article. I just sighed at the shocking-but-not-so-shocking mention of more accusations and inhumanity. And then I closed my laptop and climbed the stairs for bed.
For some reason I awoke at 4:34 AM, and those six words sprang to mind again: It's official. Dick Cheney is evil.
Only this time, it was not a sigh that followed but the memory of a jarring indictment from Jeremiah 17:9, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked." Then John 3:19, "Men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil." And Psalm 53, "Together they have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one."
All of a sudden I was wide awake and forced to admit it: I am Dick Cheney. My friend could have just as well broadcast to the world, "It's official. Karisa Clark is evil." And it would have been true. Utterly, undeniably true.
The shocker in all of this is not that man is evil. A thirty-second dose of any evening news show is proof enough. Wars, greed, degrading speech, the careless snuffing out of human life.
The shocker is not even that I am (and you are) evil. Probe the corners of your heart with even a small measure of honesty and you'll be forced to admit with me that the dark stuff of sin is, on an individual level, very, very real.
No, the shocker is not the darkness around us or the darkness inside us. The real shocker is the Light.
It is this: "The Light shines in the darkness" (John 1:5).
And it is this: "While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Rom. 5:8).
And it is gloriously this: "God sent forth his Son... so that he might redeem" (Gal. 4:4-5).
This Redeemer did not leave us without hope, caught in the reverseless spiral down into our own wretchedness. He did not wait for us to come to him, for we could not. He came to us.
He who is holy, he who is wholly Other, emptied himself of his glory and took the form of a servant. He dwelled with us, he died for us, and he raised us with himself. This is what should stagger us.
If you do not shake your head in utter disbelief at least once every Christmas, I'm afraid you are missing the whole point.
I wonder as I wander out under the sky,This Christmas, I wish peace for the world; I wish goodwill and compassion to replace accusations and inhumanity. But for you, my friend, I wish you most of all: complete astonishment at Jesus, Emmanuel.
How Jesus the Savior did come for to die
For poor, ornery people like you and like I?