A few years ago, I knew this girl that everyone kind of stayed leery of.
She was of the messy grace variety.
She made a lot of mistakes. She would take one step forward, three steps back. There came a point when people started questioning her salvation.
No joke. I distinctly remember the chill I felt down my spine one night when an onlooker whispered in my ear, “I just don’t think the packaging matches the inside.”
I was quick to retort that she was wrong. I had known this girl for ten years, much longer than anybody that dared to judge her, and knew that, despite her mess, she was indeed growing in her faith.
It broke my heart to hear the judgments from people who sinned differently than she did. Flash forward five years and now I’m of the messy grace variety. I’ve had just as many people question my salvation, throw stones, cover me in shame, refuse to speak or socialize with me. I have often on the fringe of the church. Unwanted, tolerated, patronized. And when I am wrestling with shame and guilt, it is the people who have known me the longest who are quick to remind me that, despite my mess, I am indeed growing in my faith.
I used to believe that I had my life all together, that I didn’t sin too much. I went to church every Sunday, joined a community group, showed up to all the churchy events. I was a model Christian, lukewarm in faith. My life was boring but safe.
But God doesn’t call us to a boring but safe life. Every person of God I have looked up to has been of the messy grace variety. They’re always the ones with the most grace, the most outspoken, the strongest advocate. They have a fierocity for God and His church that religious people just don’t have.
Because I just don’t see how you can be moved by the fact that you are covered by the blood of Christ until you understand your own depravity.
How can you truly extend grace to another person until you have experienced that grace from God first?
I’ve been working through my perfectionist attitude, the side of me that falls apart every time I fail. It’s been through reading through the biblical heroes that I’ve started to question how we as Christians perceive salvation. Because there’s not a single person in the bible that wasn’t of the messy grace variety. So why do we expect perfection out of each other?! Why is there condemnation when you produce some fruit of the Spirit and fail to produce others?
What if it’s messy? What if your walk with Jesus is littered with mistakes and failures and God still sees the finished work in you? He still sees you covered in the righteousness of Christ.
I don’t know what happened to that girl. We lost touch but I’m sure she is still as in love with Jesus as she was five years ago. I hope she found people who pointed her to Christ and not her messiness. It’s the same thing I hope for myself.