I am currently watching the TV series “Vikings” and it gives me insight int o how it is that God loves human beings.

The series tells the story of Ragnar Lodbrok, a Viking who initiates the first raids on England. The Vikings are mindnumbingly violent. People are slaughtered without mercy and others enslaved all in the name of ‘plunder’. Back home, violence is never far away as Vikings compete for power, honour and wealth.

Yet it is not the English perspective we are told but the Viking. I see not only a bloodthirsty warrior but a man who loves his family, even to the point of risking his life for them; a friend who is intensely loyal to his companions; a believer, who seeks the will of the gods; a man of great ambition but personal doubt; someone who has moment of extraordinary tenderness. I find myself hoping for him, wanting him to succeed, and feeling for his pain.

It’s a vivid reminder that I cannot simply divide the world into goodies and baddies, monster and heroes; that human beings are complex, capable of terrible evil and astounding good.

It gives me insight into how it can be that God loves us. We can do some despicable things, yet God sees all of us. God may be angered by the harms we do to one another and the planet, yet God also knows us as people who hope and dream, love our families, enjoy our friends, and have our strengths and weaknesses. In short, God is drawn into the drama of our lives, is filled with empathy for us, and longs for our best.

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