And yet, God does not broadcast my imperfections to an unforgiving world. Rather, He gently embraces me and leads me back home. Ok, ok, so it doesn’t always play out that way. Kicking and screaming I protest…and I doubt…and I set my sights on disproving His love. My pastor likes to say this gospel is best served beaten. I like to take it one step further. Instead of mixing it with non-essentials and oversaturating it with complications, we should beat it…until it bleeds! Rip it to shreds (if we dare), question its validity, and beat it until we see nothing but the blood of Christ pouring over us every minute. Because that is exactly what He does. Christ’s blood may have been spilled at the cross, but it is washing us clean on a daily basis, in fact, every minute, and by no justification on our part. We are getting what we don’t deserve, grace and eternal life – deserving death, receiving breath.
We can certainly claim to be deserving, beyond reproach, and righteous, but in His eyes, our words are meaningless without faith and honesty before Him. In the parable of the two brothers (Matthew 21), a man asks his sons to go work in the vineyard. One says, “Sure thing, Pops” (ok, different words, same idea) and doesn’t end up going. The other says, “Beat it, Pops” and then changes his mind and goes out to work. I am so much of each of them; there’s a constant battle raging within. If my faith were a Miller Lite commercial, it’d read something along the lines of, “Talks great – less willing.” Part of me still struggles with my own ability to earn God’s favor and the other part doesn’t care to try at all. I wish I could succumb to the latter more often. I am so rebellious in nature. I don’t like to be told what to do, but when I am honest before God, He changes my heart for me (on occasion) and sometimes, my hands even produce good works. And when that happens, TO GOD BE THE GLORY! I don’t have to pretend to be worthy of His love. I need only to believe He is who He claims He is and without Him, I am beyond all hope. Gives ya that warm, fuzzy feeling, doesn’t it? Hey, I would venture to guess those nut-jobs on the news didn’t have that warm, fuzzy feeling either. Collectively, we have truly “lost that loving feeling,” but we do have a loving healing. We are being reconciled to our Heavenly Father.
Oh yes, I was all over the news today and I was not so pretty. Here’s what I see as our main malfunction: we need to stop playing “Hide and Seek” and start playing “Tag – you’re it!” Instead of trying to conceal our ugly parts, our scars and our wounds – the parts of us other people find repulsive – we need to start ripping off the band-aids and exposing ourselves (whoa, that might make the news, huh?). Seriously though, if we stopped avoiding the lepers and touched their scars once in a while, we wouldn’t be so quick to hide our own. It’d be an endless game of tag and everyone would be having so much more fun, cause at the end of the day, when the sun went down, we’d all be running toward the same dinner bell in the same house, seated at the same table, eating the same bread and drinking the same wine. And everything would be right with the world. Ok, enough daydreaming! Here’s the reality, it ain’t gonna happen, but a girl can dream, can’t she?
I’ll close with some brutal honesty and the reality of it all (as I see it). We are all backsliding day in and day out and yes, that does mean we are all walking back down the same road (of sin) we once traveled before we met Christ, but here’s the good news: the road has not changed. It’s still the Calvary road, we are still sinners, and Christ is still at the end with open arms. A friend at Bible Study tonight said it this way, “We are strong in His grace.” I am in complete agreement. We are weak in this place, but strong in His grace. I think that’s somewhat newsworthy, don't you? Move over Hour of Power, there's a new kid in town and it's called the gospel of saving grace!