“Woke” is so offensive, as if someone was asleep and not paying attention before. As if the people are are “woke” are the only one’s who see the world the right way, and everyone else is just walking with their eyes closed. The same can be said of “lost” and “found,” as if the “lost” are some weird category of people that wander directionless through life.
And yet, “woke” and “found” are terms that describes the feeling someone has when they suddenly see the world a different way. They may be offensive from an outsider point of view, I get that. But they are remarkably accurate descriptions of the sensation that comes from having your perspective do a 180 turn. I might not go around saying people who see the world different from me are “lost” or “asleep,” but I will say that I was lost, and now I’m found. I was asleep, and now I am awake.
I don’t know if I think there’s really one definition for sin that fits all people. As I illustrated verse four of Charles Wesley’s hymn “And Can It Be That I Should Gain?” I thought of sin as seeing the world through infinite mirrors. Call it pride or selfishness if you want, but I think for most of us, it’s way more subtle. Perhaps what comes most natural for me, and it seems to come naturally for all of us, is to assume that others ought to see the world the way I see it. We don’t normally think of that as pride or selfishness, but isn’t it just so frustrating when someone else can’t understand my perspective?
Christianity teaches that all people are equally made good in the image of God, that all people have fallen equally in our sin, and that Christ died for all people. Awakening is a sense of overwhelming gratitude that God would love us so much. It is intensely personal, but it is never private. As Charles concludes this verse, “I rose went forth and followed thee,” he definitely saw faith in Christ as something that must move you outward to genuinely love the other people for whom Christ died. Seeing the face of Christ in every person is a challenge…especially when it comes to people whose perspectives we despise. The Christ in me awakens to meet the Christ in you, recognizing our common humanity, our common goodness, our common finiteness, our common worth, and seeks to make real peace.
I mean, if we all accept that we are limited, finite people, maybe even when we are SO RIGHT about something, we still don’t have the full grasp of truth. You can never be woke enough.