Finding Safe Places in Scripture
At first glance, it might look like safe places, one of our core values, has no scriptural backing. The words don’t appear in any translation of the Bible that I’ve ever read. If nightlight is a Christian charity, you might ask yourself, why does safe places make their top four foundational values?
While the words themselves don’t appear as such in the Bible, the concept of safe places finds deep scriptural roots in the Kingdom of God, a theme at the very centre of Jesus’ teaching.
To those who look at the gospels trying to find where Jesus says, “pray a prayer saying you believe in me and you’ll be forgiven and get to go to heaven,” all his talk about the Kingdom of God might seem a bit mystifying. If these are the gospels, why does “the gospel” seem so difficult to pinpoint within them?
The gospel, or good news as I prefer to call it (that’s the literal meaning of the Greek), is about God taking the initiative in Jesus to be reconciled to creation. It’s about God’s will being done on earth as it is in heaven. In other words, it’s about God ruling as king on the Earth. Hence Kingdom of God.
This reconciliation between God and individuals who accept that reconciliation by faith should overflow into human relationships as well. That’s what the church is: the community of those reconciled to God, who are called to reveal God’s reconciliation to the world.
God’s original design for creation was for people to live in harmony with him and with each other. We see this in Genesis 2 (but I don’t have space here for a proper exploration of the themes of that passage). In Genesis 3 things start to unravel. When Adam and Eve choose to sin (Genesis 3:6), their relationship with God is broken (Genesis 3:8), but so is their relationship to each other. When asked what he’s done, Adam throws Eve under the bus (Genesis 3:12) telling God that what he’s done is her fault. The reality we can see at work is that spiritual brokenness immediately leads to relational brokenness.
As I mentioned above, through Jesus’ sacrificial death and resurrection, God has taken the initiative to reconcile with creation. If we have received that reconciliation, we are to live it in our relationships. God has created a safe place for us, granting us unconditional forgiveness for the sins that we have committed. “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1 NIV). Jesus has made a way of reconciliation, but he asks us to live as extensions of himself, following him by denying ourselves and taking up our crosses (Mark 8:34). Put differently, God has made a safe place for us, and asks us to make safe places for others. Safe places give us a small glimpse of what God designed life to be like, and what it will once again be when he has restored all things.