“We fear if people ever truly knew us, they would not love us, but the truth is if people really knew us, they could truly love us” Jon Acuff
One of our pastors likes to refer to all of us, including himself, as ‘all jacked up.’ I don’t embrace this truth very well, but it’s intensely accurate. During the times I haven’t messed up too badly, I feel pretty good about myself. But when an area of my life begins to stink, I tend to go into denial. It’s easier to slather on the cologne and avoid thinking about it than to come to terms with how far I’ve missed the mark.
The truth is I am all jacked up. And I bring my imperfections into every area of my life, including my family, my job, my friendships, my… It seems the longer I live the more I realize I’m not the man after God’s heart I hoped I was. I’m not alone in this. Toward the end of his live, Paul called himself the foremost of all sinners. But even among such great company, I struggle to fully embrace my sin.
The Lie of Lovability
Lately, God has revealed a virus running in the operating system of my heart: The more perfect I am, the more lovable I am. Though I know its a lie, the less perfect I realize I am, the more unlovable I feel. I read what Jesus says about the sinner who washed His feet with her tears, “her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little loves little.” (Luke 7:47b) This verse is like anti-virus software targeting the specific lie which has caused havoc in my life. In Christ, God lavishes his grace upon me. What should keep me from opening up all the crevices of my heart to allow His loving grace and mercy to have full access?
“Cheer up! You’re a worse sinner than you ever dared imagine, and you’re more loved than you ever dared hope.” Jack Miller
Could it be that a fuller embrace of my sin will give me a deeper experience of His love?
God is eradicating this lie which causes me to shy away from a full embrace of my sin. His great love for me is washing away guilt and shame, showing me something I never expected.
Being brutally honest with who I really am, with all my imperfections and sin, in all areas, has far reaching benefits for me and for others:
- Greater sin, greater love -As with the sinful woman, the more I see my sin and embrace God’s forgiveness, the greater I understand His love
- Eradicating Defensiveness – If I know I’m loved, no matter how much I’ve messed up, I can fully accept, without denial, when others tell me I have broccoli in my teeth
- Requires dependence – As long as I think I’m doing okay, patterning my life after the historic Jesus I read about in the Bible, I’ll keep grinding it out in my own effort. However, when I see the essence of what Jesus is teaching us in the Sermon on the Mount, that I can’t be perfect and can’t live the Christian life without him, I’ll begin to yield to His abiding Spirit
- Brings freedom – Jesus says “the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32b) When we give the Spirit full access to the crevices of our heart, we’ll experience the freedom to fully embrace our humanity with all its ugliness and fully rest in the love of Christ
- Really Good News – Gospel means “good news” and when we truly understand that no sin is more powerful than the precious life blood of Jesus, this makes the gospel really good news.
- My Grace Story Brings Hope to Others When we share our junk and related victories, others can identify and hope is ignites in them. “If God can do that in his life and with his family, as jacked up as he is, He can surely help me.”
- Think of the imperfect areas of your life. This shouldn’t be too hard. As humans, our sin is kneaded into all aspects.
- Of these areas, pick one that’s particularly hard to accept. This is probably an area you find some worth in. Just one for now. You can repeat the process if needed.
- Spend some being brutally honest with the Lord about your sin in this area. Perhaps you’ve been in denial about the extent. Then, with no hesitation, receive the cleansing power of the shed blood of Christ for forgiveness and cleansing.
- Perhaps there’s a person in your life you need to talk to. Do it. Bring it all into the light of his healing grace.
- Rinse and repeat the challenge for other areas. (This reference doesn’t work for me. I haven’t had enough hair to wash in years) (8^>
Prayer: Most gracious, heavenly Father. I’m so sorry I hold my junk at arm’s length, not fully embracing my sin. Thank you for exposing the lie that tells me I’m unlovable when I’m not perfect. What a hideous message. I’m sorry for how my lack of brutal honesty with myself, has affected my freedom and perhaps even the freedom of others. Please keep me in absolute truth, exposing more and more of my junk, that you might use me to trumpet your lavishing love and unending grace to others.
“He predestined us to be adopted as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace, which He lavished upon us.” Ephesians 1:5-8b
 I Timothy 1:15