Do not rejoice over me, my enemy; When I fall, I will arise; When I sit in darkness, The Lord will be a light to me. Micah 7:8 (NKJV)
Part 3 – Through the Beauty and Mess
I’m so grateful for these stories of Israel’s wanderings. To me, it’s like an epic reflection of the landscape of my spirit. Up and down, fallen and risen, high and low, in and out, sinner and saint.
If we're honest, sinner and saint is what describe most of us best. I have yet to meet many people who are actual saints in the spirit of the word. We all have something that could undo us. And then we all have something unique and beautiful to contribute to the world and others. Its mix of passion, monotony, thrills, boredom, pain, joy, beauty, ugly, lost, found… life. It’s messy, and pretending that it isn’t just makes it even more so.
And the fact that God always reached out to the Israelites through whatever they were experiencing gives me hope that he will always do the same for me. He knows my wandering heart; he knows my aches and joys… and none of it is enough (or not) to turn him away.
Through Christ, we are free from the separating nature of sin. We have the freedom to choose to join and share once again in grace, which is always on offer; we are free to step back onto the path of love.
But as you and I have both experienced, sin is not without its human consequences. And when someone steals the innocence and life (whether emotionally or physically) of another, measures need to be put in place to ensure the safety of others. Some of you may have had sins committed against you, and it takes everything within you to get through the day. Some of you have committed sins that have plunged you into the deepest regret and shame and getting through the day with its burden strapped to your back is almost impossible.
There have been relationships I’ve lost, opportunities I’ve missed, and wounds I’ve inflicted all due to choices I have made; the sin nature alive within me. And I have to live with that. I can perfect my behaviour, offer apologies and do good works 'til the cows come home, and it may not change the negative effect I’ve had on people and situations. The fallout of my choices is something that I walk through by grace.
I am a sinner (someone who misses the mark) and a saint (saved by grace) all at the same time. Even though I fall, I rise. I will fall again, and I will rise again. Each time, the motion becoming more and more fluid. Sin no longer has the power to keep us on the ground.
Learn to accept your humanity. (I’m not saying use it as an excuse to hurt people and be selfish). Be free from the pressure of perfectionism; it’s a lonely man's religion. Brene Brown says, “Imperfections are not inadequacies. They’re reminders that we’re all in this together.” Only in our vulnerable, flawed, human state can we experience what is to be in awe of God, saved by grace, forgiven and healed. And it's best when we do this together. Ecc 4:10 says, “If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.”
If you’ve fallen, don’t despair, don’t wallow in grief, or thrash around in terror. Reach out. Help is on the way. You will rise again. And again.
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