Has God left the redeeming business? The Bible is filled with stories of redemption. From adulterers to murderers to prostitutes – coming to know the redemptive power found through Christ’s death on the cross. But in some cases you can attend the same church for years without hearing the stories of forgiveness and restoration among the people you see every Sunday. You may have heard about their sin, failure, or brokenness; but too often the gossip stops there.
My daughter and I had a spontaneous dinner Saturday night with a great couple from our church. We just happened to be walking into the restaurant at the same time.
Our conversations came around to wishing we had more stories of redemption and healing from other Christians in our church.
I’ve always been a person that has lived my life like an open book. Don’t get me wrong! I understand there are things we need to keep private and I understand we don’t need to share everything with everyone. I certainly have a line I won’t cross and you should too.
But how would it be if we were willing to stand up and say, “Hey, I have really struggled with drinking for the past few years but the Lord has taken away the desire.”
Or, “as I’ve watched my kids struggle and fall I felt like a failure as a Christian parent, but God has changed hearts and used the brokenness to draw them back to Him.”
And, “I couldn’t believe I was facing divorce and single life again, I felt betrayed; but the Lord has brought healing and joy back into my life.”
What about, “I got caught up in my career for awhile, leaving other areas of my life hurting. God took hold of my heart and my focus is back on Him first of all, and my family before my job.”
Then there’s, “oh man, we’ve really screwed up our finances but we are back to handling our money the way God would have us and we’re on track.”
ANYTHING! Just sharing with each other how God has worked in our lives.
Why are we afraid to tell how we’re broken. After all, we are human. If we were perfect, we wouldn’t need a Savior.
Three things keep us from turning our mess into a message.
We’re afraid of being judged by others. Why in the world do we judge anyway? We seem to have our own measuring stick to determine which sin is worse than another. We tend to seek out those we feel are “worse” than us so we don’t have to feel so bad about ourselves. And, after all, if we tell someone about the bitterness in our heart they’ll hold it against us and talk about us behind our back.
Wouldn’t it stop someone from talking behind our back if we were the first to admit where we fail? I think part of edifying the body of Christ should consist of sharing our victories and struggles with each other. Someone else has already been through what we’re going through or they will be someday. Hearing how we won that battle could give someone else strategy tips for the war they’re fighting.
We’re afraid of accountability. If we share our story now we have someone else who’s watching. What if we slip up again? What if they walk in the restaurant and see me with that drink in my hand? They’re going to give up on me and it’ll ruin our friendship.
Maybe if we could use that accountability to help the body of Christ it would grow stronger. When we’re injured with, let’s say, a broken foot we limp and use crutches and the rest of the body pitches in to help support the foot while it heals. Should the body of Christ look any different?
We don’t really want to let loose of the sin. It’s fun after all. It always is. It’s designed to be. Who would want to participate in something that is shown as a lose/lose situation? It’s exciting and it’s not hurting anyone but our self (at least that’s the lie we tell our self).
Sometimes we feel justified to hold onto bitterness or unforgiveness. Let me tell ya – I’ve held on to a few things because I was in the right, of course. The other person wronged me and they didn’t ask for forgiveness. Somehow, holding that bitterness left me feeling better than them. But in Matthew 6:14-15, the Bible says “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
I don’t know about you but I’m willing to be transparent when the Lord lays it on my heart. If He can use my mess to somehow help someone else, I’m in. Couldn’t that possibly be God using us to bring about his promise from Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
Psalms 107:2 Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story—those he redeemed from the hand of the foe.
Can you think of a time God has used your mess to be a message for His glory? Or do you completely disagree with me? That’s ok – let’s start a discussion. Share with us here…..