I live in a home that always looks like it’s ready for an open house. Everything is in its place, there is no dust anywhere, and you could eat off the floor. It’s like that because my lovely bride, Denise, and I are anal retentive (I wish the psychologists would come up with a nicer name for that). In our worst moments, the place looks like a mess to us, but most anyone else walking in would die for that kind of neatness. We can have it all straightened out in about five minutes.
Of course I’m exaggerating slightly, but only slightly. We can be slobs just like anyone else (well, maybe not ANYONE else)…but close. I guess “messy” is a relative term—relative to the amount of mess we’re willing to put up with. I’m never really embarrassed about being such a neat freak. In fact, sometimes I’m downright proud of it. I’m a Zuchelli after all—my Mom and Dad would be proud.
But I’m a part of the church. The church is messy in her best moments. In fact, neatness is a sign of a church that’s not doing her job. Think about it. Who do we deal with in ministry? Sinners! Sinners are messy. Dealing with sinners is a messy business. That’s because sin is messy. I suppose that’s why many local fellowships would rather bypass the whole dealing-with-sinners thing. Of course what they’re forgetting is this—they’re sinners too.
I’m not sure why we think we’re squeaky clean. But I AM sure we often do. That’s a really bad position in which to place yourself if you’re a church that wants to make a difference. Who in the world do we think we are? Not sinners, apparently.
The fact is, church, you’re full of sinners. You come from the same place the other sinners came from. Except for Jesus, you’re headed the same place you think they’re headed. What did you do to deserve the right to keep your hands clean? Why do you think you can ignore those who need your presence in their lives. Did you do something special to earn that little dispensation? I think not.
Jesus died for you to be set free. If I read the Bible correctly, you’re not the only one for whom he died. You are now a vehicle for his grace to arrive in the life of someone you might not like—or even detest—another sinner, perhaps. Heaven forbid! Actually, Heaven forbid we deny that little fact.
Time to get with it, church. Don’t you think?