Let’s be real here for a moment. Many of us have a messy story to tell. In fact, if we’re at all transparent (after all, we’re all friends here), I’d bet that the picture in the rearview mirror is one that we’d rather leave ‘back there’ and not revisit a second time around.
But what if … by some leap of faith … that heap of a mess could be helpful to someone about to come upon their own version of it? Someone about to encounter her own messy situation and circumstances. Would you be willing to unpack the tidy memories?
The ancient heroes of the Bible lived their stories out loud. And that was without the help of social media and the press. There was no one capturing their instantaneous responses in situations with a smartphone camera or uploading videos onto YouTube. There were no on-the-spot-interviews or podcasts to immortalize their movements, decisions or impactful choices. They lived in the open of all who saw them coming and going.
Which leads us to believe that there was no room for editing, imposing filters or do-overs.
Can you imagine that? The Apostle Paul feverishly on a man-hunt for Christians and performing hate crimes on them. Matthew, having sold out to the Roman government demanding tax money from his own people when he knew they were barely getting by. James, the half-brother of our Lord, taunting Him about His ‘favor’ and wisdom from GOD. Mary from Magdala being demon possessed (who knows what she may have done) and everyone knew it. Zacchaeus swindling people out of their life savings to fill his own pockets and being called out by Jesus.
Looks like we’d all be in good company, Sister.
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, Romans 3:23 ESV
I’ll raise my hand to having what I call a ‘basement’ where I have contained my messes. They’re not pretty by any stretch of the imagination. Nonetheless, they exist because they happened. Not by choice. But by purpose.
And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose. Romans 8:28 Amplified
The world wants us to reinvent ourselves, which quite honestly, I have difficulty understanding.
I recognize that I am imperfect and in need of the Perfect One. In my limited imperfect capabilities, there is no possible way for me to make ‘better’ when I don’t have the means, resources, talent — much less the intelligence — to ‘re-create’ any better than the way I am. I need to go to the Source — the original Source of my created self. If had the capability to behave perfectly well, I’m sure that I’d have the patent on that.
“Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men, of like nature with you, and we bring you good news, that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them. Acts 14:154 ESV
Experiences that contain ugly details and occasions where people were hurtful and unthinking about their words and reactions. Times where I questioned if GOD even cared about the boulder of events that just rolled over me. Moments in time where my own reactions are now regrettable, but unable to undo or change. Yes, there is that pile of stinky memories that, if given any opportunity, I would erase them from history. But that is not possible. However, GOD can take the worst of situations and redeem them.
The Lord is close to all whose hearts are crushed by pain, and he is always ready to restore the repentant one. Psalm 34:18 The Passion Translation
It’s not an easy thing to overcome: pride. Yes, the “p” word. It’s that one word that at the very mention of it kind of sticks in our throats and causes mild ‘blindness.’ Either we will admit our wrongdoings and our need to allow GOD to clean us with the Holy Spirit (we can’t come clean on our own) and get out of our own way, or we will continue to wade through the mud and remain stuck and ultimately repeat history.
Friend, even in that mud and mire of dirty bygones and sin, the Lord is gracious to turn it around and make something beautiful emerge from it. The event won’t be erased or forgotten. There will be aftershocks and rippling effects of our decisions and actions. The people involved won’t suffer from a sudden amnesia.
But GOD …
Will still be gracious to you … to me … that’s love.
I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Psalm 34:4 ESV
If we will only set our eyes on the Vertical view and reach for Him. Setting our faith into action — to let in the healing and restoration — He so desires for us to be whole. But we have to earnestly and sincerely drop whatever is in our hands; those things that are taking up valuable space by distracting our grip and causing us to think that we are not ‘good enough’ to be made right with GOD by simply saying ‘yes’ to GOD. Releasing our hold on intentionally ‘doing’ in order to ‘earn’ divine approval. It’s not easy.
I know how hard you are struggling with that. I know all too well how hard you are striving to do your best so that your Heavenly Father will be pleased with you — and so that others will also accept you. But I’m also here to tell you that there is nothing more to be added to the Cross at Calvary. When Jesus said, “It is finished,” He put a period at the end of the sacrificial sentence.
There’s a phrase in Tagalog (Filipino): “Tapos na!” It means: Done and done! Nothing more required.
You may be thinking, “But you don’t know what I’ve done … ” And you’re right. I don’t know what you’ve done. But the One Who does and was there when ‘it’ happened, loved you just as much then as He does now as you think about turning around to see Him.
He stands with His Arms outstretched towards you and scarred hands to wipe clean your bruised and bloody knees. We don’t even have to ‘put on a clean shirt’ to come into His Presence. And I know that many of you understand what that means. In some circles, the mis-belief is that you have to ‘clean yourself up’ before you can approach the Throne of Grace. While it’s true that your sin-ridden rags are not fit for the King of Kings, His Redemption comes only through His Son, Jesus Christ. It is the blood of Christ, His perfect sacrifice of Himself, that gives us the sanctification and permission to approach GOD.
We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. Isaiah 64:6a ESV
So come, my Friend, just as you are … He is waiting to change your life if you’ll let Him. Don’t let pride stand between you and He.
I love you to Heaven and Back, Girlfriend ~~
LindaRJohnson, TitusTwo Visionary