JESUS saw Nathanael coming to Him, and said of him, “Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!" John 1:47
We are all familiar with the term "Nationalist" referring to someone who puts his country’s interests above everything else. Such is an accurate description of Nathanael. While his principles are worth tons of admiration, his attitude is not worth an iota of emulation.
You see, we can overdo one good thing and yet overlook an equally noble deed, such as watching our attitude. That is why I coined the word "Nathanaelic"... so intense and so insulting, so right and so rude, so patriotic and definitely, so sarcastic.
While Nathanael is a "Nationalist," Jesus is a "Gracist"! A Gracist, on the other hand, is an activist of and for grace... a voice for the voiceless, help for the marginalized, hope for the underdog, honoring the humble, weeping with the weak, and rejoicing when the weak is honored!
Nothing can be more exciting than when Nathanael, the Nationalist, meets Jesus, the Gracist from Nazareth. I am seeing a pleasant surprise popping out somewhere along the way! Let us learn the unusual way of the Gracist from this encounter of two principled men. One is a man of solid conviction, the other, a man of Grace and Truth.
Here, we see Jesus model the way of the "Gracist"... it is meeting toxic people with tact. When Jesus met Nathanael, He greeted him with genuine appreciation... "Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit." Nathanael replied, "How do you know me?" Hmmmm, I smell sarcasm here. "How do you know me?" is a loaded question not only wanting an answer, it is also a missile-shaped serpent spitting venoms of sarcasm.
People today need not go to school to learn the art of sarcasm. Take a good look around you and note that from a depraved heart, it effortlessly comes out. Nathanael's question can sound something like... "Look at me, how can you, a man from Nazareth and the son of a carpenter, know me?" Somehow, I am learning a new formula here... that people who are so right and yet so rude, are so wrong!
The Gracist extended grace to the sarcastic by giving genuine appreciation. Jesus' comment regarding Nathanael is not PR strategy; He really meant what He said as far as Nathanael's track record of being nationalistic and patriotic was concerned.
Gracism tries to magnify the only shred of dignity left in a man considering that we are bearers of the image of God. Within that tough-looking man, totally blighted by evil, there still is some good in him which shines once in a while.
Jesus once said... “evil as you are, you still know how to give good gifts.” Let us stop here and reflect on how tact overcomes the toxic... don’t worry, life will offer more opportunities for both. When your turn comes, remember to say... “Let me look at you so I can see the image of God which you bear.
Thanks for reading something I write from my heart.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on March 02, 2017.
Latest issues of SunStar Davao also available on your mobile phones, laptops, and tablets. Subscribe to our digital editions at epaper.sunstar.com.ph and get a free seven-day trial.