by Bryan Lowe
“Accepting the reality of our broken, flawed lives is the beginning of spirituality not because the spiritual life will remove our flaws but because we let go of seeking perfection and, instead, seek God, the one who is present in the tangledness of our lives. ” — Michael Yaconelli
Accepting ourselves is a lifelong process.
We talk of “accepting Christ”, but for many that really is not the problem. When we talk about Jesus, there is such an attractiveness about him, that makes hard-boiled agnostics stand back and grudgingly admire. But, to accept “me”, well that takes more then just a bit of imagination. When your depressed or anxious it just escalates the problem. We just don’t like ourselves. Sometimes I think that if I met me, I would think, “What a jerk! ” Having psychiatric issues only intensifies and focalizes my sin into a horrifying mess. I’m not just a loser, I’m a loser on steroids. A supreme loser! I’m certainly not the red Ferrari, I am obviously the rusty Studebaker with balloon tires and a lousy heater.
The remarkable thing though is not my spiritual unattractiveness, but God’s irrational love for me. The New Testament writers used the word we translate “love” as “agape”. That Greek word meant a love without any conditions, a selfless love, a love that was passionately committed to the well being of the other. Actually, it is a love that goes out of the way to care for its enemy. That’s the audacity of agape.
We do the mental gymnastics to try to grasp the definition. We strain and contort but it defies comprehension. We grab, hold it, and then it gets loose and we clutch air.
“This is how much God loved [agape] the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life .”
-John 3:16, MSG
When I tell you, “Jesus loves you”, you will probably smile politely, nod and say “I know,” and turn away. But, once in awhile, “lightning will strike,” you will look up in stunned amazement, with tears in your eyes, and whisper, “I know”.
“Spirituality is not about being fixed; it is about God’s being present in the mess of our unfixedness.” — Michael Yaconelli, Messy Spirituality
- Messy Spirituality (brokenbelievers.com)
- His Irresponsible Love (brokenbelievers.com)
- Love That Reaches Down is Grace. (kevinnunez.org)