“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.“
Matthew 5:14-15, ESV
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control.
Overall, I think this Manning quote is a great observation. We, the torn and wounded often hide, secluding ourselves in the “Island of Misfit Toys.” (Got to love 60s TV.) We pretty much accept our lot as eccentric or even damaged merchandise. But exactly who has given us this label?
Perhaps our ‘self-imposed’ exile is more our doing than we would like to admit. Could it be that we imagine ‘slights’ and ‘affronts’ from others too easily? Somehow the ‘fruit of the Spirit’ is long-suffering, so why are we rattled by the ignorance of some? It seems to me that if I hide my light under a ‘bushel basket’ I am depriving the Church of a necessary gift.
This may come as a shock, but the Church doesn’t need more gifted people. But it does need broken people who understand ‘the giftedness of the flawed.” When we conceal, we diminish the Church by our absence. We can ostracize ourselves, through a self imposed shame– but the Church will suffer. We need to show them that everyone can be healed, even screwy ‘fruit-cakes’ like us.
I recently had the privilege of speaking to a class of Bible College students. My subject was decidedly not on being successful, but on being a failure. Whole courses are geared toward ministerial success– but where are the ones for failure? I think that it just might be as important, in the long run.
You will never erase your past. I have tried and it can’t be done. I have blitzed my brains on drugs and booze, but I still remember the people I’ve hurt. (And I pray for them.) There really isn’t a cure for the evil we have done. I believe in forgiveness. And I hold to the idea that are sins are never to be a subject of guilty accusation–
“He will again have compassion on us; he will tread our iniquities underfoot. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.”
Extracted from us, our iniquity is put in a very deep (and out of the way) place. But there are the memories of an unkind word, or a sad foolishness that we must learn to live with. There will be regrets, and consequences of a sin. It is enough to know that all is under the blood of Jesus. We are indeed forgiven.
We are now to live as forgiven sinners, yet precious in God’s eyes. We discover that although the Father has no favorites among His children, but He does have intimates. We are to live the rest of our lives for His glory, exploring that intimacy. We are now light, not ‘black holes.’