You Are Not Stuck

6 11 2010

You know how at the beginning of some TV shows there is this little warning that comes up that says, “this show is not suitable for all viewers.”  Well picture a little disclaimer like that popping up right about now; it’s not a warning, exactly, it is more like a request for permission from you. I am going to talk about some things in this post that might go a little further than you want to go in thinking about things that are more “spiritual” in nature. You might be one of those people who doesn’t really think about “spiritual” things but I am asking you to at least be curious about what I have written here.

If in the end you don’t believe me, I respectfully thank you for at least being open enough to read this; after, you don’t have to give it another thought (but I hope you will).

 

* * *

 

When I was little, I don’t know why, I thought I could do no wrong. Maybe it was because my brother got into a lot more trouble than I did, but I just had the perception that I was always good.  One day my mom had the audacity to tell me that I was (her words) “a sinner.” I was devastated! I ran to my room and cried big, broken-hearted tears. My mom found me in such a state and asked me what was wrong and I sobbed, “I thought I was perfect!”

She laughed because it was laughable; who thinks they are perfect?

Is Anyone Perfect?

Is anyone perfect? If you resemble a perfectionist in any way you are probably saying “no” but nodding your head “yes.” Intellectually you know it is impossible but you may be living like you think you will be the first to achieve it. I know how it is, because, well…you just read about me in the opening lines of this post.

Maybe it isn’t such a big deal to live like that; isn’t it better than the alternative? Hm.

Is anyone perfect? If you have lived a life noticeably far from it, you know for sure that “perfect” does not apply to you. There may be a boatload of reasons why your life has gone off track, but aside from all that you might have made some really bad decisions; you may have done some really reckless things; you may have disappointed more people than you can count (including yourself). You may have made a name for yourself that you can’t escape.

So here you have two people: one is continually frustrated because they are trying oh-so hard to be good, devastated every time they disappoint themselves and others; and the other has given up trying because they can’t see how they could escape the reputation they have created. Both are stuck.

Here Is The TRUTH…

You and I and everyone else have messed up;

We do mess up;

We will mess up again.

There are no exceptions to this.

There is no avoiding it.

You can stop thinking you are uniquely “good” or uniquely “bad.” No one is perfect; not a single person. Whoever has told a “little” lie, gossiped, or has let a hateful thought float across their mind, they lose the contest. Not a single human being gets to be perfect which means that everyone is, as my mom put it, “a sinner.”

Friend, it is an equal playing field.

Your mistakes might be really public or really private. Some people’s “bad” gets splashed across the front page of the paper; some people’s will get them a detention. Some people’s wrongdoings will wreck their family; some people’s will ruin their reputation. Some people’s faults will go under the radar, but they are there, don’t be fooled, they’re there.

Try to think of one perfect person. No one comes to mind?  That’s because this “sin thing” is a condition we are all born with; no one teaches us how to do it; it comes totally naturally to us all. So, we don’t get to judge others; we can’t even judge ourselves! No one get’s to look at the person next to them and say, “I am better than you.” No one gets to look in the mirror and say, “I am worse than them,” because we all fail.

We don’t need to worry that some people are getting it all right and some people are destined to struggle. All of us “sin.” All of us are offenders.

Is This What I Am Stuck With?

Because we all “sin” it really doesn’t matter who is reading this in terms of what I want to say to you next.

  • It doesn’t matter if you think your sin is “light duty.”
  • It doesn’t matter if you have and still regularly, royally blow things apart.
  • It doesn’t matter if people see you as “good” but inside you know otherwise.
  • It doesn’t matter if people don’t see any good in you at all.
  • It doesn’t matter if you think mending your ways will be relatively simple
  • Or if you think there is no hope for you at all because of what you have done.

It doesn’t matter if we rate ourselves, and 0 means mostly good and 10 means mostly bad because contrary to how we see things, our “sin” makes us equals before God. To God, sin in any quantity creates a divide between Him and us that is impassable.

It is one thing to think about how your messes affect your relationships with people, but do you ever think about how it affects your relationship with the God who created you? We were created to have an unbroken friendship with God; zero degrees of separation. He gave us freedom to walk lightly and joyfully on the earth, flawless, unburdened, and completely connected to Him.

In fact, to remove any suspicion that we were only with Him because we had no other option, He gave us the keys to the relationship: the freedom to make our own choices. Love out of obligation does not sit well with God; He is and always will be about freedom.

That’s where the wheels fell off (as you know).

We lost our way in this and thought freedom looked like something else. It didn’t; but by then it was irreversible. You can wish you never did something, but it doesn’t change the fact that you did it. Our rebellion against God would not be an isolated event; it went viral. This “sin” maxed out our credit; the interest (the cost of doing business with sin) alone kept piling on and piling on, suffocating us while we pretended to be happy.

Pause

Can I just hit the pause button for a minute? So what if we have “sin”? So what if our lives run amuck? So what? How important are the things we do wrong? Can’t we just move on and forget about it?

I guess I would throw the question back and ask, “I don’t know, can you?”

The things people do that are wrong, always affect other people. When someone has hurt you, how easy is it to just “move on”? Some of the bruises people inflict on others (physically or emotionally) can last for a lifetime; you always pay, somewhere down the line someone pays for our “sinful ways,” and people end up stuck in the pain they have caused, or the pain they feel.

It is strange how it happens; sometimes you do one thing wrong and it just leads to worse and worse things. One wrong piles onto another wrong and pretty soon there is this mountain of failures in front of you. How easy is it to fix all that? How easy is it to get rid of guilt? How easy is it to mend relationships? How easy is it to mend your relationship with the God who is crazy about you?

Got regrets?

Unpause

What if there was a way to make us “right”?

What if there was someone who could “unstuck” us?

Listen to these amazing words spoken by Jesus Christ:

 

God’s Spirit is on me!

I have been chosen to bring you a message of good news

I am here to bring good news to the poor

I am here to forgive prisoners

And to help blind eyes see

And I am here to take care of people’s burdens

And set those who have been battered free!

Jesus had a radical message. He said that He would take the consequences of all of our “badness” and take what was totally broken, pay the price for all that ugliness by giving up His own life, and set us free. We can’t earn any of it, we don’t have to prove anything to anyone, we don’t have to beg for it. What we need to do is admit our imperfection, our “sin,” and open our hands to this gift of forgiveness and then live out that forgiveness with the kind of gratitude that now allows Jesus to show us a better way to live.

The Opposite of Stuck is…

This idea of being “freed” is something known as “redemption.” Redemption, in case you are wondering, is my favorite word.

  • Redemption, the idea that something otherwise discardable can be made new and usable, when applied to people, is a magnetic message.
  • Redemption, the idea that something can be changed for the better means that I have something to live for.
  • Redemption, the idea that something is gained because something else was cashed in, both crushes me and motivates me when I realize what I gained because Jesus cashed His own life in for me.

The redemption Jesus offers you frees you from being stuck.

Your head might be spinning with everything I have said in this post. There may be things that confuse you. There may be things that bother you. You might be saying, “I don’t even believe in God!” Thanks for taking the time to read this. It isn’t my intention to convert you to some religion, just to introduce you to something that is TRUE and is filled with hope.

I just want to say at the end of the post here, you do not have to be, for one more second, stuck. Jesus’ radical message of forgiveness is for anyone who wishes to receive it.

This whole thing, by the way, is called the “Good News.”

What else would you call it?

— Teresa Klassen

 

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