I live in a small town.
I love that everywhere I go I see someone I know. But at the same time I hate that everywhere I go I see someone that knows me.
The people sitting behind me in the drop off line at school watching me wrestle my reluctant child out of the car are the same people that I may have accidentally cut off that morning. And the people that saw me at the store in my pajamas buying cheap wine and Cheetos after a bad day are the same people who see me stuffed into my bathing suit at the public pool. There is no hiding.
In a small town there is no anonymity. I’d much rather not be known. To be known by others means there is a chance that they will see my messy side and reject me. I often forget that it is not this way with God. To be known by God is to be nothing other than deeply loved and accepted; mess and all.
Whether we wear it on our sleeve or hide it deep inside there is no denying that we all have messes. Some of us are just better at hiding it than others. God is the only one that knows every detail of our messy lives yet loves us right in the midst of it all; just as we are.
Romans 3:10 tells us that “Not one of us is righteous. No not one.” Not one of us can keep God’s law. Not one of us is perfect or ever will be.
You see, in order to keep God’s law (everything He commands in His word) you must keep all of it perfectly in every thought, word, and deed. There is no wiggle room. There are hard and fast rules such as thou shalt not murder, do not covet, and love your neighbor.
Maybe you haven’t murdered anyone today but you may have wished them off the face of the planet in your heart. Maybe you haven’t coveted your neighbor’s house but you sure do wish you had a body like hers. Maybe you did love your neighbor and helped her clean out her attic but as you walked home you patted yourself on the back for being such a great friend and pride crept in.
Do you see? No matter how hard we try, it just can’t be done. The law was set at such a ridiculously high standard that there is no reaching it. Was this a cruel joke by God? Does he hold it out of our reach and laugh at our efforts? Of course not! The law was never meant for us to be able to complete it. The law was given to show us that no matter how hard we try all of our efforts are actually quite pathetic.
According to the law, each one of us is a mess. But because of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection each one of us is his Beloved Mess. The gospel frees us to live a life of freedom knowing that we are loved as we are. The law is good. It shows us how short we fall and delivers us into the arms of our Savior.
We are in need of rescue. We are in need of the One who perfectly obeyed the Father. The One who perfectly loved, perfectly served, and perfectly gave his life on our behalf so that we can now stand before the father in all of our messiness and be loved. And through Christ we have just that.
*For more on being loved in the midst of your mess check out my new book, Beloved Mess.