Redemptive

love redemptiveRedemptive is an adjective that describes actions designed to save someone from evil, error, and harm. It’s a good word.

When know a guy who went to jail because of his drug habit, you can look at him and say, “It’s a shame that you messed up so bad.” You would be telling the truth, but you wouldn’t be redemptive.

When you know of a girl who got pregnant in high school, you could call it illegitimate and refuse to help out at her shower. You’d be making a valid point. You’d be clear that you’re against sexual promiscuity. You wouldn’t be redemptive.

You can forward every email about all the broken promises of politicians, the scandals of D.C., and the failures of government. You can tell people that you voted the other way. You can say, “I told you so!” to all of your friends who voted wrong. And you might be right, but you wouldn’t be redemptive.

Scripture says that “God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world.” (John 3:17). He didn’t have to condemn us; we already were condemned. He could have, though. And he would have been right. But God is not just interested in being right—he is interested in redeeming. That’s why the verse continues, “…but in order that the world might be saved through him.”

Redeeming mankind is the theme of the Bible. From our fall in the Garden to our celebration in New Jerusalem, God has been acting to redeem us. God redeemed Joseph from the pit and the prison. He redeemed Jonah from the fish. He redeemed Israel from Egypt and Judah from Babylon. When Jesus came, he came to set us free forever (John 8:35-38).

So here’s the question: are your actions redemptive? Do you use your influence to make a difference to those around you? As followers of the Redeemer we ought to be righteous and redemptive. We are people who help show what it looks like when the Kingdom of God reigns.

An Ad by a Murderer

Smart people can learn from almost anything.

Some of life’s best lessons don’t come from professors in classrooms or stacks of textbooks. They tend to happen when we pay attention to life and look for connections to the truths we know.

Dan Wieden, co-founder of a prominent ad agency, was struggling to come up with a tagline for a series of commercials his company had produced for an athletic apparel company. The night before this slogan was due, his mind wandered to Gary Gilmore—a murderer who had been executed in 1977.

Gilmore was dragged before the firing squad in Utah. Before he was covered with a dark hood, the chaplain asked if he had any last words. He paused and said, “Let’s do it.”

Wieden thought about the crazy courage of a statement like that—and from it was born one of the most famous sports mantras: Nike’s Just Do It. Needless to say, the ad campaign was a success.

I don’t often find myself looking at murderers for inspiration when I prepare sermons…but if I pay just a bit more attention to the world around me, there’s no telling what I’ll learn.

(H/T to Imagine: How Creativity Works by Jonah Lehrer).