Shattered and Broken

Life is complicated.

The answers that humanity gives us are often complicated too, leaving us confused, without any real sense that we’re any closer to truth. The simple platitudes and cliches we hear betray us in that, despite the temporary warmth they provide, we know there’s more. More that’s required of us, more that has to happen, more that we still aren’t understanding.

Don’t worry, be happy.

Look on the bright side.

They’re in a better place now.

God is Love.

Be Holy as I am Holy.

So many.

Granted that the last two are quotes from the Bible and so are absolutely true, they are both tossed around by people, good, well-meaning people, to say things about God and life that are absolutely not true.

Does God demand that we come to Him through the cross of Jesus Christ? That, though He is love, His holiness requires a compensation that none of us can afford?

And does His holiness require a level of holiness, perfection, spiritual enlightenment from us before He can use us, before He can really be a part of our everyday life?

I think, if we’re honest, and we say yes to the first question, we must say no to the second.

And, just so we’re clear, yes is the correct answer to the first question. Which means the payment for us was paid and we are given a choice to have a relationship with God, or not. And that choice has eternal ramifications.

But, to my point, can we ever say that we have reached a point where God can and should use us?

The best of us are shattered and broken. The stories we love to hear, the legends, often cover the humanity we are embarrassed by. And when the humanity is revealed, we become angry and disillusioned. Anything good that was done or said is destroyed, discredited.

Can we not take joy, comfort, peace, strength, boldness from knowing that God is using us, is speaking through us, is shining out of our broken and shattered lives? Can’t we silence the lies of our enemy with the truth that it is never about us, never for our glory, only about Him? His mercy. His grace. His glory.

P.S. I love this video for the song itself but also for all the long-haired, tattoo covered, weird and crazy people I see singing in honor of my King and letting me know I’m not alone.

Married Up

My brain gets stuck on things and then once again, “fools rush in where angels fear to tread.”

See, I’ve listened to great marriage counselors and speakers who talk about how they “married up”, married someone who was out of their league.

Always, it is a guy.  I’ve never heard a woman say this.  Of course, I’ve also never heard a woman say, “he married up when he got me.”  That would be weird.

Now, as someone who married up, I find myself still having a problem with this.

What is the end result?

OK, so your husband is an idiot.  He’s a loser.  He can’t do anything right.

Oh wait, your wife is perfect.  Walk in shame next to her.

Yeah, I know, overly dramatic, but here’s the problem.  God gave us to each other.  I don’t believe he ever goes, “well, this one is great but I can’t find a good match for them.  Guess I’ll just give them this one.”

I’m pretty sure that when God brings two people together, he’s stoked because he is bringing the best for both people.  Even with all their faults and issues, they are RIGHT for each other.  RIGHT!  Each is blessed to be with the other.  The world is blessed because they are together.

It really is amazing.

So yeah, I married up.  I would never claim to be better than her.  But maybe I should see myself as perfect for her and step it up a bit.

Holy!

Hágios – different (unlike), other (“otherness“)

Holiness is something we attribute to God.  It carries the idea of reverence, perfection, divine.

He is different, unlike anything else in the universe.  Trillions of stars, planets, molecules, atoms, cells, living creatures but there is only one God.  It is, in my opinion, the greatest evidence of His loving nature.  Paintings and popular culture would show a holy god as someone who would look down on all those beneath him, condemnation exuding from his icy stare.  But the reality is not the same.

His holiness can’t be assuaged, it can not be circumvented.  You can not call Him God without an understanding of His complete holiness.  But to see Him as something other than perfect love, misses the depth of His holiness.  Man’s idea, my own ideas, of perfection carry feelings of hatred, of disgust, of alienation and abandonment.  But these realities, the reality of Hell, was not birthed from God’s holiness but from rebellion, our rejection of Him as God.  Condemnation is a creation of our sin, and the pride that says, “I will set myself up as God.”

True holiness is coupled with the idea that we are not something “other”, not “different.”  We are created in His image but not Him.  Therefore, that holiness is complete only in capturing, training, redeeming what is unholy.

Maybe you are thinking that I’ve lost my mind or that this is some intellectual discussion that doesn’t matter to everyday life.

God called us to “be holy as I am holy.  Be “other” just like Me.”  And we scoff at this knowing full well that we can never be perfect.  We can’t get it right so why even try.  But I think we miss life, miss His love, miss His joy by adopting that attitude.

In my prayers today, I want to take the attitude that I CAN enter in to His holiness.  I can find His “otherness” by entering into His presence.  I can be like Him as I give myself to Him.  I can experience life by laying my life down on His cross.

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