I’ve been hurt enough to see the term, “friend” as self righteous. I know the heart cry of people desiring to be treated as friends, when the term is thrown about so easily. I was a little hesitant to start this article calling you my friend, but I still want you feel as though we are friends. No matter what walk of life you’re from, there are no strings attached. No matter what religion you call your own, no matter what sexuality you ascribe to, no matter what stage of life you’re in or what path you’re on- I want to be your friend. But first I want to apologize to you:
We’ve Been Wrong
There are Christians who will misrepresent Jesus for their own agenda, and sometimes even use the truth to attack people instead of loving them. Christians who move into rules and performance mode, instead of understanding the scandalous message of the Gospel. I’ve been one of those Christians, and I’ve been wrong. I know that I’m sorry is a small token for so large a hurt, and I know it may not be enough for you to forgive, but here it is.
I’m sorry that there are people who value their opinion more than you. I’m sorry that there are those who have lifted up personal convictions, and standards, hoisted them high and then dropped them en mass onto you. I’m sorry you’ve been hurt instead of loved, broken instead of healed, misused, mistreated and abused by people who call themselves Christians. Your pastor, maybe your parents or siblings, a relative or a friend. They were wrong.
Just know there is an apology extended, know that it’s there- That someone understands there’s been wrong done.
If there is one thing that you should take away from this post, it’s that you are important. This doesn’t have anything to do with your performance or your identity- it is intrinsic to you. You are full of value and worth, not dictated by anything that you say or do, simply because you reflect God (Genesis 1:27).
You are worth it. You were created for a purpose. You are loved.
The picture of each individual reflecting God is interesting. Think of all humanity as a large mirror, and think of sin as the hammer that breaks it. Each fragment still reflects God, but they now do so in a disjointed way. When light hits the mirror, the broken pieces reflect it in hundreds of directions, giving a partial picture, but often misrepresenting what should be shown clearly.
Truth is Still Truth
We’re flawed, and we don’t always reflect truth as it should be reflected, but God is still God. We’ve just done a bad job showing who he is. Light bouncing off a broken mirror can hurt. It is a constant struggle to reflect God accurately, to understand and apply the Gospel as it was meant to be. This isn’t an excuse for what has happened to you or a dismissal of your pain, but a cry that there is hope, forgiveness and healing through Jesus Christ. Look at who he is and what he has done for you! Through salvation, “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” -Psalm 147:3
The Law Points to Grace
So much damage has been done by people who use the law to control people, but God’s desire isn’t to control you- He wants to give you life! The lie that you must live up to a standard, is one that Jesus died for. His grace covers your sin, his grace covers your failure, his grace covers your striving. Just. Be.
The Gospel is scandalous in the bare-bones fact that it doesn’t have anything to do with you any effort on your part. Ephesians 2:8-9 says it plainly, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”
Grace is the key with which we unlock the law! While the law serves as a guide to follow, and the Gospel (the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus), gives us the ability to do what it says. The law shows us what unrighteousness is, but the Gospel gives us the ability to die to ourselves. Through the law, we are shown how to live a Christ-centered life, but only grace can sanctify us to that!
Don’t Give Up
Do you believe that Jesus Christ loves you beyond your own ability and inability, beyond your faithfulness and unfaithfulness, beyond the moments of sin and moments of sacrifice? Do you believe that God loves you now, exactly how you are and not as you should be? He loves you, even when every part of you refuses him, rejects him and is repulsed by him. Don’t give up. The only place you will find rest and peace, is in the person of Jesus Christ.