In the midst of a critical time in which a country is spiraling down to chaos, division, uproar, anger, uncertainty and fear, and at a time when two ways are presented to us to decide on our future, only grace will save the world.
It does not matter what people will vote. But, of course it matters. It matters in the sense that there is a cause and effect for every action. One road may lead to destruction, the other may lead to development and eventual prosperity. One way may lead to independence and growth, the other may lead to permanent debt slavery. But at the end, it does not matter. It does not matter ethically. By saying this I am not promoting an escapist attitude to life. Everyone is responsible and should be active in making this world a better place. I am responsible for my neighbor’s life in every way. And if any of you know me you have no doubt that my life is given over to social activism.
But let me tell you why neither of these roads can save the world. Only grace will save the world. There are amazing, honest, ethical people on both sides of the debate. Yes, one may call the other deceived, deluded, uneducated, naïve, but the truth is that, or rather, what is important here is that regardless of the outcome that may prevail, regardless of the flourishing or the destruction that may come upon us or is already here, no one will be able to survive without grace.
First, there is no way for me to know what the outcome of my decision will be. Claiming to know the outcome is in fact a quality called omniscience no human can claim. This is an area restricted to God alone. Actually, and this has happened to me numerous times, I may discover that I have made a wrong decision, that I was lacking some important information when I was deciding, I had limited vision, etc. The time will come when I may confront my once certain self and I may be forced to say “I erred”, and this possibility is equal or usually much higher than the possibility that I will always choose right. Will I have grace with myself? Grace to embrace my humanness, stand up again and move forward? Survival presupposes forgiveness. The forgiveness of the self. Grace.
But what is of a higher concern is, in the case where I make the right decision and my neighbor will have made the wrong one, again I will need grace in order to live in this land, side by side with him or her. And, in the case of Greece, I am talking about almost half of my fellow citizens. Half my brothers and sisters. Grace will be the glue, forgiveness will be the foundation of a livable society. So, half of us will be right, half of us will be wrong. Does it matter which half? I will need to receive you with grace or you will need to receive me with grace.
If I win and my idea of a better country is realized, what plan do I have for incorporating half of my fellow citizens who voted differently into this new, now realized vision of a better country? Is it not precisely this that I was fighting and protesting for? A better country of unity and peace? Unity and peace will not be imposed on us by the success of the outcome. Unity and peace will be created by us through no other power but the power of grace. A painful grace towards the other, my neighbor, my enemy.
Of course there are people with evil motives voting on both sides. And there’s people with good motives voting on both sides. But this better world we are both dreaming will not stand, whether in affluence or poverty, in freedom or in slavery, if it’s not founded on grace. Slavery cannot rule over me for there is a slave that is far freer than a rich man and, conversely, I can be enslaved in a state of freedom and affluence. Freedom is not a circumstance, nor is dignity. There is a freedom that transcends all stages of history, all contexts. And you know how you can tell a free person from a slave? The free person is known by his or her ability to free another. The one who forgives debts. Grace.
You will need grace if your vote brings the outcome you dreamed of, you will need grace if it doesn’t. Grace will save you from becoming what you hate, what you are now fighting against. Grace will rescue you from repeating the things that need to be abolished through your vote. But your vote alone is inadequate. Your vote may hand you the throne of your oppressors, and there, you will need grace or else, others will soon be voting against YOU.
No politician, no circumstance, no election can function as the foundation of a just society and I don’t need to justify this statement. A brief look at Greece’s history shows that elections had never brought what people expected, promises were never realized, politicians have never delivered. None of the two ways is the pool of Bethesda where all the sick, the blind, the lame and the paralyzed wait to be washed. Do not be fooled. How many times will you keep drawing near this pool, trusting in its waters? How many times will you see your hopes frustrated? And why should I trust that once you are healed you will have the slightest care for the other waiting by the pool. Will you stick around to help them wash as well? Only grace can do that.
Grace will not wait for any referendum outcome. Grace is already at work, always at work producing right now, conducting itself right now in the manner of the world it envisages.