Where do we look?
There are a lot of ways we tend to gauge things for ourselves.
For some of us it’s a number on a scale. For some of us it’s a number in a bank account. For some of us it is the car we drive, the clothes we wear, the computer we use, or the zip code of our house. Most of us use some sort of metric or a key performance indicator to help us assess where we are and how we are doing. The truth is, if our external indicators look good, we appear to have it all together, family looks good, health looks good, social media looks good, yard looks good, we think, we are good. But if we dig in to our own lives, many of us realize we are living a life and faith of what Dallas Willard calls, “sin management”. If we can control the perceptions around us, if we can keep our struggles hidden, if we can put up a front that everyone believes…we start to believe it too. As well, if we can keep the obvious need for Jesus out of our life, we’re good. The goals for many of us, is to work Jesus out of our life, because we have pulled ourselves up by our bootstraps. This perspective is incredibly damaging to our heart, mind, and faith and it is wildly contagious. When we live as religious elites who have it “all together”, people start to think that is the way to live as well. I find that the more I draw close to Jesus, the more I can see clearly. It seems like the more we come to know Jesus, the more we are honest and vulnerable, the more we confront our life, struggles, temptations, faults, failures, and sin…the more we realize we need him.
I’ve heard it said that the best thing that could ever happen to any of us, would be for our worst sins to be on the headline news. Then, we could stop trying to control, hide, or manage our sin…we could then address it.
The story of the women dragged before Jesus when she was caught in a problematic relationship with a man who wasn’t her husband was the worst moment of her life up to that point. She was likely embarrassed, ashamed, angry, and a whole list of other emotions. Religious elites were ready to have her killed and Jesus responded with the famous line that “whoever is without sin, cast the first stone”. Of course they all dropped their stones and walked away. They had mastered the art of sin management…but not her. The way Jesus spoke to her, cared for her, and asked her “Woman, where are your accusers? Has no one condemned you?” I imagine she responded sheepishly, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said one of the most beautiful sentences, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”
What seemed to be the worst day of her life ended up being the greatest day of her life. It was likely a story she told over and over again. It was the beginning of a life of freedom.
Let us remember today and everyday that all the metrics and KPI’s and surface level assessments will never truly tell the story of our life and faith. It will never truly tell the deep need we have for a savior. The good news is he speaks those same words to us in our worst day too.
The bad news is, I don’t have it together.
The truth is, none of us have it together.
The good news is, we have a savior who does.