Over the course of the past few months, God’s been trying to teach me something, and this morning, it all gelled. (Wanna know where I was? You’d think earth-shattering truth would occur on a mountaintop or in a lush meadow of wildflowers. Nope. I was on the treadmill in our den. See? God can speak anywhere.)
Maybe you’re not like me and you’ve never had this happen, but I’m going to guess most of us have done this.
Have you ever looked into a mirror and realized you know the person inside the mask? Their ugliness and mean thoughts, their bad attitudes and the sins they hide? Maybe you don’t have to look in a mirror. For most of us, we just know what lives inside. A while back, I asked God to make me aware of my sin, because sometimes we get desensitized to our own ugliness. Let me tell you what, that’s a dangerous prayer to pray. You get really aware of your thoughts most especially. Oh, and your words. Dude, have I got a tongue on me sometimes when it comes to criticism. I’m being real. It’s true.
Then something happened. When I decided to leave teaching, I started to hear from my students about wh
And then, someone said something to me on Sunday morning. Something I won’t repeat here because I’m not ready. It’s one of those things I want to be like Mary in Luke 2:19, to treasure up and ponder in my heart for a while. Suffice to say, in my whole life, it was the one thing I’d never expected to hear. And I simply couldn’t believe this person saw that in me. The only reason I took it to heart is because I have never, ever, ever known this person to lie to me, especially about something like this.at they see in me. (And please know, this is certainly not me bragging. I was humbled to the point of tears. This is about what God does.) And what they see in me is certainly not what I see in me. I was floored. One of my former “babies” brought me a letter he’d written in Bible class to the person who had been a spiritual influence in his life. Wait. He chose me? Me who loses my temper, says mean things, criticizes, can be really self-righteous, and who talks way too much when they should just shut up?
But today, it hit me that this is what grace looks like. This is how it looks when Jesus gets involved and clothes us in His garments, washes us white as snow. We still mess up and sin and remain totally imperfect. But Jesus covers all of that. Oh, believe me, I know I’m not reflecting Him all of the time, but He somehow, amazingly, shows through. HIs power is undeniable, no matter how much sin tries to smother it. I’m imperfect, but He is perfect. Why He sees fit to have anything to do with me blows my mind.
And He does the same for you. I have friends and family members who blow me away with their Christ-likeness. They shine in a way I envy. (And envy is another sin, so there you go…) But when I mention it to them, they don’t understand what I see. It’s the same thing. Jesus is shining through them, clothing them, in spite of what they believe.
It all has me singing some old school Michael W. Smith this morning. Because it’s true. We’ve all been an incredibly laundry list of awful things. In fact, we still are. But God has never turned His back on us. And we’ve never been unloved. (Side note, don’t wait to come to Jesus, thinking you have to be perfect to do so. You’ll never be perfect. And He doesn’t care if you are. Because He’s perfect.)