Exploiting God?

5 Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, 7 but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, 8 he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death– even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:5-11)

“Extra Extra, Read all about it” shouts the news media in an effort to get your attention. We read and hear things all of the time, and it seems like a lot of it creeps into our ears as a persuasion, wanting us to believe one side over another. I think our society feeds of a certain amount of division, causing factions to form which brings more division, and I wonder how many times has information I value, such as the scripture, been exploited in an effort to persuade me or others into thinking a certain way?

Then I wonder If Jesus had focused on himself as God, exploited his earthly abilities as God, how would the glory of God been miss represented? I wonder what kind of divisions this would have cause among the people, because for me, exploitation is inherently associated with causing division. When information is exploited it is passed on as a truth and manipultes people into think one way for another.

But Jesus didn’t do this. Jesus didn’t elevate himself above God; Jesus didn’t exploit his relationship with God. No. Instead Jesus came not to divide us with some personal message of his greatness or understanding of the world, but came to unify us by sharing God’s desire for the world. So Jesus became a slave to serve us and emptied himself on the cross for us, to bring us into full relationship with God.

And Paul recognizing God’s desire for unification shares this same desire with the Philippians. Paul has heard that there is division among the leaders of the community and he is asking them to be of one accord. And this theme of being a whole body, of being in unity, happens over and over in scripture. (From Ephesians. “with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace…)

But I still come back to, how has this beautiful message of the cross, of Jesus dying for our sins, of us being claimed as children of God, how and why does it keep being manipulated and exploited. And my heart hears the history of people quoting scripture to cause hate and factions of division[1], even though scripture is clearly promoting unity and service to one another. And I wonder, when will the very fabric of God’s love and mercy, the very reason Jesus died on the cross, stop being exploited to promote gender and racial based violence?   For if we confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God are we not to be of the same mind as Christ Jesus? He didn’t exploit God, why do we???

[1] For example scripture was used to promote slavery, and more recently I have heard it as a call to kill people from the LBGT community. .

Leave a Reply