Article: Accepting Yourself and Others

This past Sunday I preached on the first part of our mission statement at CLC. It states that we are church of real people. Essentially, we are imperfect people seeking Jesus.

The church is full of broken people in varying degrees, including myself.

Although God is perfect, he doesn’t demand perfection from us. God knows us so well that he sent us himself (as Jesus) to forgive us and draw us close. The cross tells us that God doesn’t hold anything against us.

Jesus wants us to draw so close so that we can be washed clean (forgiven) by him. He isn’t scared off by sin. Jesus embraces sinners.

Knowing this, why do we judge people who sin knowing we do it too? There is something wrong with us when we feel superior to those who do bad things, and we look down on others. It is contrary to everything we know about ourselves (we are sinners too) and God’s unconditional love.

No matter how many times we are told that God is love (1John 4:8) we still think God requires people to get their act together before they can truly be considered a Christian. There is nowhere in the Bible that we are asked to be “gatekeepers” to keep the riffraff out.  The point is that we are all a hot mess to some degree.

We don’t need to fit in… we are accepted as we are.

It is a paradox to think “I am acceptable to God” but you over there “are not.” It is purely by God’s grace, God’s gift of love that we are all welcomed into God’s family. We are then forgiven and made new by our faith (trust) in the living Christ.

We don’t have to hide our sin because we can’t. We don’t have to wear a mask or build a carefully curated version of ourselves for God or other people. When we embrace the ouchy parts of our life, Jesus draws close to bring healing. Hiding the pain only prolongs the emotional agony.

God bless you,
Pastor Ben