Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Ever Increasing Reality of Our Brokenness

(the broker I am the realer I get)

Many years ago I remember looking up on the platform at the pastor of my church. Seeing his dapper appearance and hearing his silver tongued oration made me wonder if I could ever get to heaven, because earlier that week a friend of mine showed me a Playboy magazine and I had yet to memorize any scripture verses from the Bible except John 3:16. So often my grief and catharsis at the altar was over the fact that I felt I could never be worthy enough. I could never be spiritual enough or holy enough. Let alone look or sound as good as my pastor.

Then a few years later I found out the same guy was hosing a lady from the church. That event did two things; 1) it momentarily took the pressure off my attempts at being holy, and 2) it scared the crap out of me because I knew albeit my feet were small (size 8) they were made of clay just like my pastors, but I didn’t have the luxury of hiding them with two hundred dollar wingtips.

Somewhere way back when, the idea of posturing in a holy way or kind of a religious evangelical version of fake it ‘till you make it began to catch on in the circles of people that I was raised with. And that model of doing church or being a Christian worked for a while, until systemic dry rot began to set into the roots and the soul of the church.

Now many years later, I’m realizing that although my feet have not grown, they still are made of clay. I still need a Savior and God still loves me regardless of how holy I appear to those around me.

Granted, I truly desire to model my Lord Jesus Christ in all I do and say, but mark this, I will never measure up to ANY religious standard established by man. I will never be the paragon of virtue that I thought my former pastor was, nor do I ever want to be.

Because here’s the deal: The sooner we get in touch with the fact that we’re all broken and religion can’t fix us, is the sooner we’ll become real to a lost and dying world. Being real in Christ is not about lauding bad behavior or sin, but it is about acknowledging that any and all of my righteousness is like nasty used feminine hygiene products. You know… real biohazard stuff.

What fixes human brokenness is an ongoing friendship with God, based on the shed blood, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ the Lord and facilitated by regular communication with Him. By acknowledging that Christ alone has atoned for my sin and is regenerating me into His image and by acknowledging my complete agreement with Him on all matters – what He says in the Bible and to my heart – this alone becomes the Crazy Glue that will fix all my cracks and yours alike.

Maybe somewhere down the line, should He give us more time, we might just drop the fears and the facades and be real enough to reach a world that is broken and needs fixing. All the while they are hoping that no one finds out they are broke.

Pssst… can I let you in on a little secret? I already know about your feet of clay and I still love you and so does Jesus. Maybe if we just let Him in and let Him make us a sandwich we might finally realize He does love us just as we are. Do you want mayo or mustard on that sandwich? Jesus is waiting.

He alone has the Power to change us. Hmmm… now there’s a load off a pastors heart. I have no power to change the world. All I can do is live the greatest law – LOVE – by the help of the Spirit.

Remember the old saying, “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it”? Maybe we should take that thinking out of our religious minds and acknowledge that things really are broke and they do need fixing and Jesus is our only answer.