The God who meets us in our messiness.

dirty hand

You’re never too messy for God.

Jesus wasn’t afraid of our messiness. He mixed with the most messed up people. He hung out with the riff-raff, the rascals and the rejects – not the religious. The Bible, from start to finish, is an extraordinary tale of ordinary people, imperfect people, from Adam and Eve onwards. Sordid, complex, untidy lives, not the kind you find in children’s fairytales. Messy people like you and me.

We spend a lot of effort trying to hide our messiness from each other. We edit our status updates and choose what people get to see. We put on our “Sunday best” and put our best foot forward. We wear masks and hide from each other as if life were a giant masquerade ball.

Yet the messiness is never far away. Your friends, your neighbours, your relatives and your colleagues carry wounds and scars. Broken relationships, unhappy marriages, physical and sexual abuse, doubts, depression and loneliness. it’s all there, just behind the surface. They don’t want to see your fake side, your “perfect” mask. They need to meet real people, honest people, people who are willing to be seen and known. People who have learned to be comfortable with uncomfortable conversations. People who have come before God in their messiness, and allowed his love and acceptance to transform them.

Jesus didn’t come for the healthy, but for the sick. He came for the lost, not the found. For the messy, not the perfect. 1 John 4:10-11 says it all – “This is love; not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, so we ought to love one another.” God loved us when we were still messy. He wants us to enter into each others’ lives and love each other, mess and all.

Don’t be afraid of allowing some untidy, awkward moments into your church life as you seek to become a community of love. Confess openly to one another. Cherish honesty. Be real. Go deep. Accept others. Accept yourself. Set up spaces in church to share and care for one another. Don’t be easily shocked. Forgive. Listen. Be interested. Laugh and cry together. Bear one another’s burdens.

God is big enough to handle all of our mess. Let’s find ways to make church a safe and welcoming place for messy people (myself included).

 

4 thoughts on “The God who meets us in our messiness.

  1. This was a great post! Just yesterday, I found myself w/a couple speaking of the need to be real and transparent before others. Jesus’ ministry was never a performance. I think a lot of what we do rises out of fear, fear that some would see our flaws and thereby reject us. The openness and honesty you speak of frees us from that fear-based mentality. Thanks again!

    • Thanks, Stephen!

      I agree that we operate out of fear that we will be rejected if people see us in our messiness. Mature Jesus-followers have the opportunity to break that cycle by living authentically and honestly before one another.

      Blessings,

      – Kathleen

  2. I believe that one of the most loving things we can do for another person is to be real with them – to be who we truly are – and to make it safe for them to do the same.

    • Amen! Being real around others gives them permission to be real around us. We never feel truly loved unless we feel known and accepted as we really are.

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