Absolute Value does not mean that everything becomes positive. That is a common misconception.
Absolute Value is actually all about distance… the distance a number is from ZERO on the number line.
So as a teacher, I would ask my students to look at the number 3.
Then I would ask them how many spaces it was from zero on the number line. And they would count the three spaces.
3 has an absolute value of 3,
because it is three spaces from zero on the number line.
Then I would give another example…
I would have them look at the number -7
and ask them how many spaces it was from zero on the number line. And they would count the seven spaces.
-7 has an absolute value of 7, because it is seven spaces from zero on the number line.
Now… this is how Absolute Value applies to us spiritually.
We, as humans, live in a finite world, with limited vision and concrete thinking. We live, basically on the horizontal axis…. the first number line we learned about in school. The X-axis.
Remember elementary school, when life was simple. When we first learned about positive numbers. Those were the only kind of numbers we even knew existed. So when we are doing our best to, “be good,” to use our strengths, talents and abilities, we are living on that positive part of the number line.
That’s not a bad thing. That’s where God wants us to be.
But we could still never, even on our best day, no matter how positively GOOD we become… could never reach God on our own.
Because we are stuck on the horizontal axis that does not reach up to God.
So then after elementary school, we got to middle school, and the number line found another side… the negative numbers.
Now whether we are willing to admit it or not, we all take trips over to that side of the number line too. Because we live in a fallen world, where sin entered long ago, when Adam and Eve were tempted by satan. And sadly, we will remain flawed for the rest of our lives. Walking back and forth on the horizontal line… positive, negative, positive, negative.
But even if we hang out on the negative side all the time, or flat out run straight toward infinite negative…
no matter how badly we behave, we will never be… out of the reach of God.
Because long ago, God knew that we were stuck. So He determined to show His love to us… determined not to let us wander back and forth on this horizontal line, aimless and unsatisfied. And He became one of us.
In the man of Jesus.
He lived out His life completely on the positive side, but amazingly, He was willing to die, as if He never left the negative.
And like no other man or god in history, even after He suffered greatly on the cross and died, He rose from the dead. He defeated death to give us… Absolute Value.
Even though in all our positives, and all our negatives we could never get off the horizontal axis and reach up to heaven. He came down from heaven and reached out in both directions to all of us wandering back and forth on the horizontal line, He counted the cost… counted the spaces, knowing that we could never cover the distance, and He gave us Absolute Value.
We can have Absolute Value in Jesus.
For God in all his fullness
was pleased to live in Christ,
and through Him God reconciled
everything to Himself.
He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth
by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.
This includes you who were once far away from God.
You were His enemies, separated from Him
by your evil thoughts and actions.
Yet now He has reconciled you to Himself
through the death of Christ in his physical body.
As a result, He has brought you into His own presence,
and you are holy and blameless as you stand before Him
without a single fault.
Colossians 1:19-22 (NLT)