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).