People are Messy

9 Sep

People are Messy

Luke 7:32-35, “They are like unto children sitting in the marketplace, and calling one to another, and saying, ‘We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned to you, and ye have not wept.’  For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine; and ye say, ‘He hath a devil.’  The Son of man is come eating and drinking; and ye say, ‘Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners!’  But wisdom is justified of all her children.”

You will hear me say this more than once.  People are messy.  We are a mass of contradictions, even on the best of days.

We will tolerate things from people we love that we will quickly condemn in other people.  The same actions.  Different people.

We will criticize someone for doing something.  They will then change, trying to appease us, and do the opposite thing.  We will then criticize them for that!

Without trying to be cynical, I don’t believe in churches as museums for saints.  If someone says that everyone in their church is spiritually mature, always putting others ahead of themselves, I am going to suggest that everyone in the church must have been together for the last 85 years and there haven’t been any recent converts there!

Even Paul wrote in Philippians 2 that we should have the same mind that was in Christ Jesus, putting others first, then concluded the chapter by saying only Timothy did that!

I fear that if we don’t realize how messy we are as a human race, even those of us in Christ Jesus, we will spend our lives in disillusion when people do things that are only motivated by self-interest.

Jesus can and does change us, as we walk in Him.  But that change can be a long time coming.  Look at the Bible characters and how many chances God had to give them sometimes before they learned something.  Are we a whole lot better than they were?

Still, God is sovereignly in control.  We don’t need to get mad at people or disillusioned with them because He will grow us in every circumstance He allows into our lives!!!

We can bear with each other, knowing that we, too, need to be delivered from vast messiness sometimes.

We can give each other grace.

The problem with being law-oriented is we either get furious at people for obviously acting in their own best interest (throwing the law at them) or we minimize/ignore those actions and pretend they don’t exist (measuring people by some false concept of law that doesn’t actually reveal their sinfulness).

Neither response is ideal.  The law is objective.  If we are going to use it, we need to use it consistently, applying the same standards to everyone around, including ourselves.

And, if we use the law as a measuring stick, we will see that we all fail.  Still, it is meant to show us our need of a Saviour and, in that, the law does its job!!!

But we really can’t successfully live in community in a church if we keep people at arm’s length for an entire lifetime, always pretending that we have a wonderful relationship with everyone because we don’t actually have any intimate friends in Christ.  We don’t grow that way.  Neither do they.

I am going to suggest we jump on into loving each other, even with the obvious messiness involved.  I am going to suggest we be prepared to get our hands dirty helping each other.  Our Saviour can clean us all up as He works in our lives.

He is very good at that, you know!


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