I recently attended a worship night with Bethel Music, and it was an incredible time of reflection, of prayer, and of renewal. Part of what makes a gathering of worshippers at the feet of Jesus in a concert so breathtaking is the fact that we are all in one room, hands raised, mostly strangers, voices lifted in unison to the One who deserves it all. And because we hardly know each other, or because we are there for the music, or whatever the case may be, we aren’t focused on each other. We aren’t there to judge each other (“Can you believe he even has the nerve to be here right now? Do you know what she was just talking about? He is such a hypocrite! She is such a liar!”). We aren’t there to watch them. We are there to turn inward on ourselves and lift it all up to Christ and His unfailing love.
But if this was church, if this was our home fellowship, if it were our close friends or family…it’s different, isn’t it?
Why do we get hung up on the broken instead of celebrating the beautiful?
David Sliker, from the International House of Prayer, made a really good point when he said, “His mercies are new every morning – which doesn’t mean that Jesus overlooks sin, compromise, and brokenness in our lives; it means that every morning we awaken to His unwavering, relentless commitment to seeing us set free, made whole, filled with indescribable joy from His incomparable love.”
New every morning. But not just every morning. Every second. Every moment of weakness. Every time we need it so desperately from Him. So why are we constantly wavering between self-righteous judgement of others and victimizing ourselves? It’s either we aren’t good enough, or they aren’t good enough. Yet, if we actually lived out the truth in the statement above, none of that would matter! Christianity isn’t about what we don’t like, don’t agree with, or who we’re mad at. It’s about love.
“Oh love, great love.”
I am guilty as charged when it comes to this very human fault. I have observed other Christians who I know very well and had ugly thoughts toward their weaknesses. I have cast judgement when it was never my place to judge at all. I have acted out of pain and anger toward people who have hurt me. It’s true- I’m pathetically human. And as much as I hate this about myself, I will probably do it again and again. Because that is what we humans do every day- comparing, complaining, secretly envying, outright boasting, cheating, stealing, lying, hiding our darkness and trying to spit-shine the good parts so we look better to the outside world.
But for the mercy and the grace of our Lord…
He knows it all. There is nothing we do or say or think that He doesn’t see or feel. If you are saved by grace, if you have accepted Jesus as your Savior and Lord and have handed Him the control of your life, then you have the most incredible power and closeness of God inside of your soul- His Holy Spirit. And yet, we forget that easily. This temporal world entraps us and distracts us from the eternal perspective.
I want to see beyond the broken. I want the heart to love others in Christ, even when they have wounded me. Even when it’s ugly and twisted and seemingly irreparable. Because the lifetime spent in eternity as sons and daughters of God won’t include the regrets, the immaturity, the weaknesses. We will all be one in Him, made perfect by His love.
So for even just a second, stop and breathe. Quiet your thoughts, and let His mercy be enough today. Let forgiveness and acceptance and grace infiltrate every fiber of your being, and ask God to see others the same way. That is what I’m on my knees about and begging for- the eyes to see others in light of mercy. In light of grace. In light of the cleansing blood of Jesus. When it doesn’t make any sense at all…be merciful.
“There will be no mercy for those who have not shown mercy to others. But if you have been merciful, God will be merciful when he judges you.” – James 2:13