Some time ago I heard an item on Radio 4 about ‘uncontacted tribes’. Throughout the world, there are around 100 tribes which have no contact with the outside world. In the modern global community where we connect instantaneously, follow continuously and travel quickly to events almost anywhere in the world – it is hard to believe that there are thousands of fellow humans who are uncontacted.
Nowadays the drive is to leave these isolated tribes alone. The idea is that they’re better off as they are. It’s true that foreigners have been guilty of violence against such tribes, devastating them by disease, taking advantage of them and ‘stealing’ the resources of the areas where they live. But I don’t think many of us believe that we would be better off as they are.
Yet there must be a proper way of contacting such tribes – one that minimises the damage done and maximises the benefit received. I reckon it doesn’t entail dramatic displays of superior knowledge and power but a gentle building of confidence in a demonstration of genuine care.
It’s the way God has dealt with mankind. Isolated from God by our sin: “your iniquities have separated between you and your God” (Isaiah 59: 2). He has not come with a display of His fury and wrath but is working patiently with us: “the Lord … is longsuffering to us” (2 Peter 3: 9). Many people ask why God does not reveal Himself in dramatic interventions against wrongdoers. They demand a sensational display by God whereas our experience of life shows that a gentle approach is wiser. Where separation exists we need to win and woo rather than threaten and demand. That is the approach that God adopted in dealing with the problem of our sin.
God wants us to understand His power, His majesty, His holiness and His hatred of sin. But He also wants us to understand His patience, His grace and His love. That’s why He has revealed Himself to us in His Son – Jesus Christ: “He has told Him out” (John 1: 18). The Bible speaks of a ‘fitting way’ in which God acts – a way that ‘became Him’ (Hebrews 2: 10). It involved the actual coming of Christ into the world and His suffering and death for our sins upon the cross. It’s at the cross that we see a full display of all that God is. It’s the proper way for God to contact us, to come to our aid to bring us into the blessing of salvation through faith.
Do you want to make contact – or remain in your isolation forever?