As follower of Christ I can’t tell you how many times I’ve done things that don’t model the faith in Christ I profess. Everything from road rage to being an over protective parent; from being competitive to a fault to having a lack of patience; all have left me exposed on more than a few occasions over the years. And it never seems to fail when I have a moment I’m not proud of or say something I wish I could take back, there always seem to be a pointing finger waiting wings. It is like they come out of thin air or pop up like a jack in the box to either remind me of my witness or label me as a fraud and neither is ever a pleasant experience to say the least.
I can say that I’ve heard the proverbial “I told you so” more times than I care to remember and one of the more recent episodes happened during a touch rugby game we expected to win. Our team hadn’t lost all year so when we found ourselves in the championship game, there was no doubt in our minds as to who would win but rather how much we would win by. As always is the case though, it wasn’t long before we realized things weren’t going to go according to plan and I was transformed into someone unrecognizable, even to myself.
With the game hanging on the edge of a knife everyone’s level of play stepped up. Touches became shoves; comments turned into screams and there I was, the biggest mouth of them all, right in the middle of it. Colorful language is how it is always described but reality is there was nothing colorful about it and when the game was over we did lose but that wasn’t what was on my mind. What was on my mind was the fact that my son had been present for our first game and that I was so thankful he had been taken home early. I was relieved that nobody in my family was there to witness my failure. But that sense of relief abandon me by the time I had reached the parking lot to head for home.
As is the case with most league sports, when the game is over there are always those who hang behind to conversate. As I made my way to the parking lot I found myself talking to an old friend who immediately pointed out my actions in light of my ministry and that I wouldn’t want to blow it. With that already on my mind, I immediately felt the shame and acknowledged my wrong. It wasn’t the first time I’ve blown it and sadly for me, probably wouldn’t be the last.
To my friend’s credit, not knowing if he is a Christian or not, he was far more gracious in his reminder than I deserved and that has me reflective at this moment. To encourage Timothy in regards to those claiming to be something they are not Paul states the following in 1 Timothy 1 v 3 – 7:
“As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain people not to teach false doctrines any longer or to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. Such things promote controversial speculations rather than advancing God’s work—which is by faith. The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Some have departed from these and have turned to meaningless talk. They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm.”
In reading the above, I confess my brokenness. What me hits the hardest is the fact that our, or in this case my, words and actions affect the advancement of God’s work through me. More than that is my being able to relate to the parting from faith and love only to turn to meaningless talk. Even more than that, professing to be a minster only to look like a fool. I humbly repent and pray that my actions never reflect my heart before the eyes of my Father in Heaven. That the promise found in the shed blood of our Savior would lift my head to proclaim that which was said in Psalms 3 v 3:
“But You, O LORD, are a shield about me, My glory, and the One who lifts my head.”
Oh Lord that you would lift my head, my heart and then my eyes to you.
As you have read this maybe you can relate. Maybe your heart is heavy, in need of repentance. Maybe you’re broken at the thought of what you have done; the times you’ve blown it. Let me encourage you by saying that Christ’s journey to the cross was to for this very reason. Jesus helps me understand this in stating the following to the people in John 15 v 24:
“If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin;”
In doing what only God could do we are found guilty and are broken. But, for the repentant believer this can be the very place one needs to be as Jesus did say the following in Matthew 21 v 44:
“He who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces, but he on whom it falls will be crushed.”
What kind of stone is this Jesus? Jesus gives the answer in Matthew 21 v 42 when quoting Psalm 118 v 22:
“Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: ‘The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. This is from the Lord, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?”
And what is a cornerstone you say? It happens to be the stone that all things depend on or are based. When it comes our brokenness, in Christ our lives are rebuilt with him as the foundation, enabling us to stand.
As I close, I’m reminded of the great Old Testament king, King David. Known as a man of great faith, courage and resolve; David was also known for his great failings. In learning about his life what has always amazed me most has been his response when faced with his sin. Proverbs 28 v 13 speaks of the person who conceals his sin. That was not David and the result was an outpouring of grace and compassion that increased his faith, producing a desire to not just serve but honor the one true God who made it possible for him to do so. I pray this for us; when we are outwardly a mess and by our own hand, that our repentant contrite hearts would be covered by Jesus and pleasing to the eyes of our Father in Heaven so we can worship in spirit and truth.
God Bless – Sean Bosse