Jesus understood things about people that modern psychology has only in recent years begun to figure out.  Consider His perception of the destructive effects of hate on the human soul.  Some have thought of Him as a starry-eyed dreamer because He taught His disciples to hate nobody, to love everybody, even their enemies.

If you think that idea is an empty dream, take a closer look at the lives of people.  Find someone who is consumed by hatred and see the results.  It may be bad for the   person who is hated, but it is infinitely worse for the one who does the hating.  Hatred is to the soul what cancer is to the body.  Untreated and unchecked it utterly consumes and destroys. 

That is not theory; that is fact.  Hitler’s hatred for the Jews was a major factor in his downfall.  The same is true on a lesser scale.  One man hates another man so intensely that he cannot hear his name     without a flush of anger.  His hatred so dominates his mind that he begins to resent anyone who does not share it.  Thus, one by one, he loses friends; and his own life and his own world becomes smaller and smaller.

Jesus saw and understood that centuries ago.  So He said to His followers, “Love your enemies, do good to them that hate you.”  His profound insight into human nature is not a dream.  It is a solid fact that we can never fully appreciate until we look at it with our eyes wide open.

Most of the problems of our world, if we trace time back far enough, are found to be rooted in the stubbornness of human nature.  Thus, the redemption of the world must begin with the redemption of individual lives. 

Jesus was never soft and sentimental about human nature.  From firsthand experience, He knew how terrible it could be and how desperately it needs to be changed.  To a leader of Israel, He said this: “No one can see the reign of God unless he is begotten from above.”  He is saying the same thing to us all.

When we face this fact, then the world’s great need comes home to our own doorstep.  Redemption must begin right there, in the transformation of our individual lives, in the renewing of our minds, in the restoring of our relationships.

I realize that it’s not an unusual thing for people to sleep in Church, especially during the sermons, or to skim over bulletin articles.  But perhaps today we have listened or read the Word of God more carefully and have consequently gotten our eyes and minds open and have seen our Lord in all His glory.  Far from   being an empty dreamer, Jesus is the most solid, realistic fact in the whole world.