My friend Barbara had a post on her site today that got me thinking.
Jesus was talking with a bunch of Pharisees and He accuses them of being like whitewashed tombs, "which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men's bones and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness." Until we deal with what's inside of us we'll never be more than empty shells of people, and we'll never experience that abundant life He promised us. Until we come to grips with who WE are we will never fully come to grips with who HE is. We put on our masks and continue to pretend that everything is being handled.
Jesus once told a crippled man that his sins were forgiven, and when the "whitewashed tombs" questioned His ability to forgive sins He asked, "Which would be easier, to forgive sins or to heal?" Then He proceeded to heal the lame man to prove His authority to forgive sins. We are all wounded in some form or another, and some of us are more wounded than others. Jesus can heal our wounds and give us forgiveness. But what we do is continually pick at the scabs of those wounds, never letting Jesus heal them. Those scabs are horrible looking, but what we don't seem to understand, or get through our thick skulls, is that they are necessary for the wounds to properly heal, if we don't keep opening them up. Yes, there will be scars. But the scars are reminders of our wounds, not the wounds themselves. And the scars, over time, will fade. For some reason we prefer to have open, bleeding wounds than have them healed and our bodies scarred.
Barbara's friend, TJ, said this to her:
You weren't ready to let someone GOOD into your life. You never will be until you are willing to shed your past completely, forgive yourself, allow others to love you, love yourself and above all accept God's love for you. Nothing you have done or that has been done to you is beyond healing.
Here's to our healing.
Richard at Pilgrim's Progress created and posted this 3D computer generated picture. His comment about it was: "Many of the images that come to me begin with meditation on a Bible passage, especially when I am reaching out for answers, for meaning, for connections. This one sums up what I long for … to experience a new freshness in my daily life and walk with God."
My blog friend, Karen (the sword's still out) sent me an email with this link and said it reminded her of where I'm at now. And you know, for some reason this picture just shouts to me. Check out Richard's blog. (And Karen's too.)
There is no question of what we can make of Him, it is entirely a quesion of what He intends to make of us. You must accept or reject the story.
The things He says are very different from what any other teacher has said. Others say, 'This is the truth about the Universe. This is the way you ought to go,' but He says, 'I am the Truth, and the Way, and the Life.' He says, 'No man can reach absolute reality, except through Me. Try to retain your own life and you will be inevitably ruined. Give yourself away and you will be saved.' He says, 'If you are ashamed of me, if, when you hear this call, you turn the other way, I also will look the other way when I come again as God without disquise. If anything whatever is keeping you from God and from Me, whatever it is, throw it away. If it is your eye, pull it out. If it is your hand, cut it off. If you put yourself first you will be last, Come to Me everyone who is carrying a heavy load, I will set that right. Your sins, all of them, are wiped out, I can do that. I am Re-birth, I am Life. Eat Me, drink Me, I am your Food. And finally, do not be afraid, I have overcome the whole universe.' That is the issue.
– C. S. Lewis, God in the dock, p. 160
Happy Resurrection Sunday to you all!
Gary Means, who I perceive as an intelligent and thoughtful writer (I know he sometimes reads this blog) had these two quotes that I just loved:
When people look at the church
and see only imposters,
they conclude that Jesus
is an imposter.
But when they see
the followers of Jesus
who are real,
the see a Jesus
who is real.
– Mike Yaconelli
The power of the church
is not a parade of flawless people,
but a flawless Christ who embraces our flaws . . .
The church is not made up of whole people,
rather of broken people
who find wholeness in a Christ
who was broken for our sins.
– Mike Yaconelli