Sweet and Messy

20 07 2009

That was my dessert at lunch this past Sunday: sweet and messy. Hot chocolate brownies with peanut butter inside, vanilla ice cream on top. Sweet and messy, kind of like the fellowship of God’s people. We’re stuck in the same bowl together: individually members one of another (Romans 12:6). Like brownies and ice cream, it is an intentional mixture: God has placed the members, each one of them, just as He desired (I Corinthians 12:18). But is is also a messy combination of sinners that requires immense grace: Live in peace with one another … admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone. See that no one repays another with evil for evil… So it’s messy. But I insist that it is also sweet. Sweet because here the power of the cross can be demonstrated in a most remarkable way.

I wonder: do we try to hard to avoid the messiness? Are we too scared of disagreeing with one another? Too nervous about confrontation? Too careful to cover up our own heart messiness? If our church appears to be a calm oasis with no relational messiness, could that be a sign of a dangerous truce (“you’re relationship with God is your business, and my relationship is my business”)? Here’s what I’m telling myself today: “Stop trying to flee from the messiness. Stop dreaming about the day when you’ll have a church of perfect people and no messes. Embrace this God-given messiness, that the power of the cross might be seen.”

The messiness will never go away until we are made like Him when we see Him. But until then, God’s grace will be magnified in the mess, through moments that can only be attributed to him: moments of love, repentance, and reconciliation. Sweet!


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