Search This Blog

Monday, July 11, 2016

It’s County Fair time here in my hometown.  My favorite part of fair is sitting around in the food tent dining on Fair cuisine and catching up with friends from the community.  Last night as I was doing just that a lady walked by with this shirt on….

 All of us at the table got a good chuckle out of it.  Since I’m a church secretary and one of the ladies at the table attends my church we got an even bigger chuckle out of my suggestion that I buy one for me and the Pastor and put our church name on the back.  I thought it would make a good “staff uniform” so to speak. 

We were coming up with all kinds of funny situations with the shirt and laughing about it. 

It was humorous and some could argue that maybe the shirt suggests that “cussing” is okay as long as you love Jesus.  Others might say that the shirt speaks to all of us as Christians – we are imperfect.  That’s how I choose to see it.

The shirt really impressed me.  I thought about it a lot.  What if we all, as Christians, had to wear a shirt that testified to our love for Jesus but also announced our flaws to the world as well? I thought about what my shirt would say.  What would your shirt say?

I love Jesus…. but I gossip

I love Jesus…but I pass judgment

I love Jesus… but I drink

I love Jesus…but I have road rage

Can any of you relate to any of the above.  I’m guessing most can relate to some if not all.  But would you dare openly confess to those things on a daily basis.  To a stranger? To your church family? To your pastor?  To your kids?  Most likely, if you’re like me, those ungodly characteristics I carry are not something I boast and brag about. In fact, as I work hard at being as Christ-like as possible, it’s very hard to confess that I screw up many times over.   But chances are (and I love Jesus…but I like to take a gamble now and then J) that people already know those things about me even if I am trying to keep them to myself. 

How many times have we sat through a church service where we’ve had opportunity to secretly write down a sin we need to give over to Jesus, or to sit quietly in our seats and confess those to God, or lay it down in an altar call.  Let’s face it, who would be the first out of their seat if the pastor asked us to write those things on our shirt and come face the audience?  I know I wouldn’t be the first in line…. or tenth for that matter.  It would be humiliating to admit all my imperfections to all of you in public.   

The message God is preaching to me from this shirt,  is that, in being a Christian, it is so important to be real.  Perhaps if I were to re-create the shirt I would have a slogan on the back that would say – “Work in progress” or something to that effect.  I’m not perfect but God and I are always working on that. Or maybe I’d put 1 John 1:9 on the back that says,” If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  Gee I wish the creator of the shirt would have gotten my input here!

The biggest gripe by those that are unchurched are that Christians are hypocrites.  They say we follow Jesus but we don’t act like Him.  But what if I just lived my life in a way that let them know, “Hey, I’m a Christian – but I’m not perfect.” Perhaps I’d just be “real” to them and  not someone they feel is too difficult for them to be. Maybe by being real I’d show them that God uses all kinds of cracked pots for his glory.  I like the Message version of 2 Timothy 2:20-21 that says, “In a well-furnished kitchen there are not only crystal goblets and silver platters, but waste cans and compost buckets – some containers used to serve fine meals, others to take out the garbage.  Become the kind of container God can use to present any and every kind of gift to his guests for their blessing.

One of those containers could be the container of confession to someone who only sees the “prim and proper me.” One of those containers could simply just being real. To someone who feels hopeless, unloved or incapable of having Jesus love them; the confession of my imperfections, as a Jesus lover, might be the best sermon I could preach to them.  Perhaps the confession of my imperfection would be the long cool drink for someone’s dry parched soul.  Maybe if they know Christians aren’t perfect and they are willing to admit it, being a Christian themselves wouldn’t feel like such a tall order to fill.

After all God has used those with imperfections for his glory all through his word.  And they all admit to it somewhere along the line.  

Moses – I love God – but I stutter.

Gideon – I love God – but I’m afraid

Abraham – I love God – but I’m old

Rahab – I love God – but I’m a prostitute

Samson – I love God – but I also love the ladies

Thomas – I love  Jesus – but I’m a skeptic

Peter – I love Jesus – but I don’t want to admit it sometimes

There’s an old proverb we’ve all heard “Confession is good for the soul”.  Maybe if we are confessing our sins to each other, whether we go to the extreme of putting it on our shirt or just taking a friend in confidence, we would be less likely to continue in sin because someone else knows now and is holding us accountable.   Maybe we really need to take this verse from James to heart... I'm just sayin'!  James 5:16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

What a witness I would be if I could say to that person that needs to feel Jesus’ grace in their life; “Hey you know what?   I love Jesus but I’m not perfect.  I screw up.  Sometimes I gossip. Sometimes I cuss. Sometimes I____ (you fill in the blank).  But here’s the good news – HE became sin who knew no sin, so that in him, all of us imperfect people, might become HIS righteousness. (2 Cor. 5:21).  Only HE is perfect! His love covers a multitude of sins.  I am always a work in progress – and He always has my back, provides a way out for me, offers his hand.  What relief!

Don’t worry, I’m not going to start putting my sins on my shirt nor do I suggest that you should either.  But I do challenge you to think about what your shirt might say.  Where is the weak area that you need God’s power to eradicate?  His grace is all we need. (2 Cor. 12:9).

I love Jesus but sometimes I forget how much He loves me!