On the internet, everything has a measured value: often between one and five stars. A few months ago, I was reading an article that featured some of the one-star online reviews that people have posted about our US National Parks. For example, someone gave Sequoia National Park a one-star review because “there are bugs and they will bite you on your face.” A visitor to Yosemite National Park wrote, “Trees block view, and there are too many gray rocks.” Not everyone is impressed with the Grand Canyon, like the fellow who described it as “a hole. A very, very large hole.” At Joshua Tree someone complained “the only thing to do here is walk around the desert.” At Isle Royale National Park someone reported that the park had “no cell service and terrible Wi-Fi.” A one-star review for Grand Teton said, “All I saw was a lake, mountains, and some trees.” At Saguara National Park someone wrote, “okay if you like cactus.” A review of Yellowstone said, “Save yourself some money. Boil some water at home.” A visitor to Arches National Park was disappointed because it “looks nothing like the license plate.” A review of Great Smoky Mountains National Park said, “nothing specific to do.” At Death Valley, a one-star review said, “ugliest place I’ve ever seen.”
We laugh, but that cynical, hyper-critical spirit is often the way we view others, isn’t it? The most "basic" human being on the planet is infinitely more valuable than the most pristine national park. And yet we forget that value. We forget the price that has been paid for all who believe.
A 17th century English pastor named George Swinnock wrote this: “What manner of love has the Father loved you with? He gave His own Son to be apprehended, that you might escape; His own Son to be condemned, that you might be acquitted; His own Son to be whipped and wounded, that you might be cured and healed; . . . His own Son to die a shameful cursed death, that you might live a glorious blessed life forever.”[i]
The truth is, that price has been paid for all who believe. Regardless of skin color, ethnic background, or political persuasion. So let's resist the temptation to treat our fellow image-bearers like a one-star reviewer, and love with the same love that we have received.
[i] George Swinnock, as quoted in Feasting With Christ: Meditations on the Lord’s Supper (Darlington, England: EP Books, 2012), 138. Language modernized.