Disclaimer: This is not pretty. This is messy stuff. Here you go. Whatever you do, don’t just read part of this.
The man we’re about to talk about is a pretty messed up dude. He claims to be a Christian, but he sure doesn’t always act like Christ. You’d never suspect it either. I mean, this guy was a leader in his youth group in high school, he led bible studies, he volunteered in VBS in the summer, he came from a great Christian family, he serves in a youth group, he seems to have some insights on spiritual matters and Scripture. We all thought he had the Christian checklist all marked off. Then we found out his secrets.
Oh man, plenty of this guy’s actions aren’t Christ-like. Is this guy even a Christian? You might not think so after reading this stuff. His faith can’t be authentic. Christians don’t do that stuff. This sin-list certainly counters any “Christian” list he might qualify for. He’s messed around with multiple girls, but he’s made the excuse to himself that it wasn’t too bad because at least he’s still technically a virgin and wasn’t having sex. Pff. Wow. Semantics much? Still abusing and misusing intimacy. Furthermore, get this, he’s had an on and off porn addiction since middle school. Porn. That industry in which plenty of women are trafficked, manipulated, lied to, and abused. Gross, right? He’s a bit arrogant and prideful and it totally messes with his witness. He’s hypocritical and definitely guilty of taking actions that he condemns in speech. What the heck is up with this guy? He can’t be a Christian. Nope. Jesus is all about that righteous life. Sinners are God’s enemies and He will judge and smite them all, just like this guy. God’s grace was meant for people who don’t abuse it or don’t go against his ways. Not for people who have premarital sex, marry the same sex, talk and act racist, have affairs, kill innocent people (especially those who kill Christians), or overall willfully sin.
Wait. What’s that? Oh. Yea. I forgot to tell you something. This guy is me. Eish…Maybe I should’ve told you that in the beginning. Maybe you now see me way different. Maybe you don’t. But I’m telling you all of this for a very important reason. Today our Supreme Court legalized gay marriage. In response, plenty of Christians have been talking all about how our nation is going down the drain, is in moral decay, etc. But this ruling, in actuality, changes nothing. Regardless of your views on the morality of homosexuality, I have something to tell you. We’re all rampant sinners. Absolutely guilty of sin and rebellion directly against God and His ways. We don’t give enough, we don’t spend enough time in fellowship with our Creator, we sin in all sorts of sexual ways, we covet, we gossip, we’re hypocrites all the time. I could go on and on. We’re pretty messed up people. Why is it that we, broken as we are, see these people and their sins as so much worse? Divorce as we know it today, for instance, has been legal for a long time. And many of us Christians are guilty of it despite the fact that Christ spoke directly about divorce (and not about gay marriage). Yet we cry out about the willful sins of this small demographic while ignoring our own or keeping our own secret and in the dark? Even worse, many of these people know nearly nothing of Christ and the teachings of Scripture, while we claim we do. At least these people are merely guilty of ignorance! We in our own sins are guilty of so much more. At least I am anyways… Let me tell you today. If you want to cry out against someone, cry out against me. Cause I am a Dang. Terrible. Sinner.
But I will SHOUT in response to you about a DANG. AMAZING. GRACE. The grace that saved and constantly redeems me, a broken man who acts out of brokenness and who periodically pursues things that I know are contrary to my God’s will and my own good. The grace that looks at people across the world who don’t know their Creator and sees a people in need of an absolutely beautiful redemption. The grace of a God who sees us not as vessels of deserving damnation, but as a lost and broken people in desperate need of his rescuing hand. The grace of a God who sees us all as lost sheep in need of a shepherd. The grace of a God who came not to heal the healthy, but the sick. Let me tell you, we are such incredibly blessed creations in that He decided that us broken people are actually worth dealing with and taking the time to heal, restore, and renew. On the daily. Read Hosea. You and I are metaphorically whores. Whoa. But all he wants us to know is that he loves us and wants us to walk with Him in ways that will restore us and bring us true fulfillment. After all, He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
It’s Not Just Me
You know, I’m not the only one who knows Christ and yet acts in these ways. “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.” You know who said that? The Apostle Paul. A man who many of us aspire to be like. A man who many of us picture as the ideal Christian. This man called himself the chief of sinners. Elsewhere he said he does all the wrong things that he recognizes are wrong and doesn’t want to do. You ever have those times where you’ve done something wrong and it’s just like, “Dang, I really shouldn’t have done that…”? Well guess what, Paul’s telling us right here that he had those moments all the time. Additionally, 1 John kicks off with saying, “Yea, you’re all a bunch of dirty sinners. Don’t even deny it and add ‘liar’ to your list of sins. It’s alright though. Just take it to God and he’ll clean ya up on the regular.” I mean, basically that’s what’s said. So rather than talk about sins, why don’t we talk more about this grace?
Why I Wrote This
Today, when you find yourself wanting to point out how bad things are in our world, how messed up the movement for gay marriage is, how evil perpetrators of violence in the Middle East are, how beyond redemption our culture is, I have a challenge for you. Instead, get a little bit introspective. If you can’t do that, just look at my own list of sins. Then say to yourself and then to God, whether about yourself or me, “God redeemed and redeems me/that hypocritical guy. God desires a relationship of love with even the worst of us. God, make me a vessel that shows others this redemption and persevering love that they can know.” Instead of seeing the failure in others, look to the glorious beauty of our Lord’s redemption offered to us undeserving sinners. It certainly is a more beautiful thing to focus on. As a daily recipient of this redemption, I should know.