In this fascinating experiment, a teacher helps her students grasp a truth in a way that they would remember forever. They learned valuable lessons about discrimination, identity, and relationships. There is no question that what a person is told about themselves and others impacts their identity and their behavior toward others. The experiment shows the reality of that truth.
And so, the experiment made me wonder.
What if the experiment was conducted with Christian adults in a church setting? What if the statements made were not about eye color or skin color, but about the kind of person they were in light of Jesus’ death and resurrection. What if the adults were divided into two groups and were told two very different things about themselves. What if one group was told they were:
- not doing enough to deserve God’s favor
- shameful for not doing more for Christ
- not obeying enough to have God’s blessing
- incapable of being fully pleasing to God this side of heaven
- going to have work hard to become more righteous
- only going to be rewarded if they sacrificed and obeyed
- sinners, but more favored than those who were not Christians
- blessed because they didn’t participate in the same sins others did
While another group was told they:
- had the fullness of God’s favor shown to them already in Jesus Christ
- already were fully forgiven in Christ and only needed to receive it when they failed
- God had given them the gift of full righteousness because of Christ
- were accepted by the Father because of Jesus Christ
- were loved in the same way the Father loves the Son
- were fully pleasing to the Father because of Jesus
- no longer under the Law or responsible for trying to be righteous enough
- had the same favor and reward that the Father has for the Son
I am confident that the results would be as revealing as it was for the teacher with the students. Can you imagine how it would affect how each person:
- saw God
- saw one another
- saw the circumstances of their life
- saw their failures
- saw their successes
- saw others’ failures
- saw what was most important in life
I am also confident that it is time for the message of the church to return to that of the New Testament. God has already poured out the fullness of His favor (grace) in Jesus Christ and it is to be received humbly as a gift (faith) apart from our efforts to earn, deserve, or work to achieve.
Who will stand with boldness and passion to teach this truth? Who will have the courage to stand against the winds of popular church thought and teaching?
Whoever does will ignite a fire that will start a revolution.