The story continues . . . . More time passes and God himself came to this earth he made. He placed himself among the people who rejected him. He told them that he was the only way of being close with God again. All they had to do was believe that he was God, and that his death would make up for all of the brokenness in their lives, so that they could be close to God again. They scoffed at him, mocked him, tried to find ways to trick him, and then manipulated the government into having him killed for supposed blasphemy. Here's the kicker: he didn't stay dead. He came back to life. He appeared to his friends, informed them that he couldn't stay with them, but would send his spirit to be with them, within them. Then he left and went back to where he originally came from, promising to return again to permanently deal with the brokenness and restore his created world.
Some believed that he was who he said he was--God. They believed that their brokenness no longer condemned them, but was paid for by his death. They believe that some time in the future, Jesus will come back, and take away the rest of this brokenness. This is the camp to which I belong. The story seems crazy, especially if you don't call yourself a Christian. That's why it takes faith on my part to believe. Having faith is about being sure of that which from appearance doesn't seem certain. I choose certainty in the face of what seems like a myth. I believe the story. To me its not fiction. That would be because I believe by faith.
So, that's just an introduction to what I really want to say here. I was reading my bible this morning (the book that tells the story). I was reading from a letter written by one of the people who believed that Jesus was God, named Paul. I was struck by what he wrote, so much so that I found myself weeping. He said that in the midst of my being weak, of my being broken, in my being an enemy of God, that he still chose to die for me, so that I could be near him, close to him, no longer in a position where my actions to not trust, my continual betrayal, my fear and need to be in control were held against me. He died for my brokenness, and it made me worthy of relationship.
One of my biggest fears is being rejected by others. I work hard to be witty, competent, intelligent, helpful, generous, and kind. I think I must earn my friendships. It's not enough to be myself. Jesus made it clear that that's not the case with him. He is so committed to me that even the ways I betray him in the future, probably sometime today even, will not result in me being cut off from him. I'll need to fess up to my betrayal, but I can be assured that I will not be stonewalled, given the silent treatment, or criticized. I will be welcomed.
My culture tells me to be afraid. My faith tells me I'm free and that I belong. I think it's imperative that I choose to live by my faith, by what I can't help but believe to be true. My faith doesn't guarantee that I won't get hurt or disappointed, or even angry, but it does assure me that I will one day see all of the brokenness disappear, all of the insecurity, all of the judgement and comparison, all of the cynicism--it'll all be gone. I choose to live out what I believe to be true, usually far from perfectly, but I know I will not know joy if I ignore what I believe in order to feel in control. I choose to move close to the one who moved towards me when I was weak, broken, and an enemy; God who forgave my ugliness and evil wrongdoing, paid off my relational debts, and is transforming me towards being glorious.