Don’t be afraid to be broken.

Don’t be afraid to be broken.

The Calling of Matthew

9 As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him.

10 While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and “sinners” came and ate with him and his disciples. 11 When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?”

12 On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Matt 9:9-13 (NIV)

Someone in my Sunday school class said a few weeks ago, as we were discussing the persistence of sin in the believer’s life after Justification (Romans 7), “but what happens when you try to witness to someone and they just throw back in your face, ‘you’re a sinner too, and you’re trying to tell me this?’” My response during the class was less tactful than I tend to try to be, but in my defense, I was a bit excited. See last post. I am a Bible geek and Jesus freak.

“But that’s the point, that’s the whole thrust of the Good News itself! We’re broken, each and every one of us, and in desperate need of a Savior who can set us free from slavery to the desires of the flesh, which never satisfy, they only make us desire them more!”

Our brokenness doesn’t disqualify us from presenting the Gospel to others. In fact, it can be a very effective tool in the hands of the Holy Spirit in getting across the deadly seriousness of our condition when we live without the Gospel. See, some people seem to think that their sin is a black mark on their walk with God, that He (and by extension, the Church) will somehow love them less because of their sin, and that their sin will diminish their social standing in the Church and with non-Christians.

(The latter of these may even be true in some so-called Christian churches, but I would be hard-pressed to admit the membership of any such congregation in the Body of Christ. A word to any suffering in such a situation: get out and seek a congregation where the love of God is displayed in His people. No vine that is connected to Him can fail to be overcome with love for sinners, that they might come to know Him as well and join in the great celebration of His love.)

In fact, if you read the scripture above, it isn’t the sin in the lives of these men that disqualifies them from participating in the healing mission of Jesus Christ, is it? Jesus didn’t shrug off the mantle of divinity and descend to be born a human being, live and love His Earthly family for a while before leaving home to teach and be rejected, ultimately to die in our place as sacrifice for our sin… for people who are perfect. On the contrary, He did all those things (and more) for the broken, the poor in spirit, the destitute and depressed. He came to remove the condemnation of the Law of God, that “sting” of death that sends the unrepentant to eternal separation from Him in hell. And there’s the key: repentance.

Should we be proud of our sin? No. Sin is always a cause for mourning, as it cannot fail to separate us from God, and anyone else against whom we’ve sinned. Our hope, our only hope, lies in the fact that Jesus bridged that gap by providing us with His perfect sacrifice. He meets us where we are, asks us to repent and confess our sins to Him so that he can cancel out their condemnation. By doing so, Jesus has made us righteous before God and thus capable of standing in His presence. But the first step is always the admission of and repentance for sin. Confess it and repent, then accept His forgiveness.

Jesus is pretty clear that the self-righteous (those who admit no faults) are not on his to-do list for salvation. Don’t be so preoccupied with hiding your sin, from your fellow Christians, from the lost or from yourself, that you lose sight of the simple fact that it is your brokenness that makes His Grace so amazing. If you sweep your sin under the rug for too long, you will lose the inevitable sense of wonder at that Grace, and then you really will be incapable of sharing it with others effectively.


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