Give Me The "Not So Pretty"

Just the other day...I went to visit a friend. By the time I left her, my heart felt like it had been torn into a million pieces. You see, she is going through a divorce and absolutely nothing about it is pretty. Her grief...her pain...her burdens...her tears...all of it shook me up, and rightly so. Divorce is ugly.

The way some Christians have treated my friend is equally as ugly. At times, she has been made to feel as if she is wearing "the scarlet letter", or like she has some sort of disease. It makes me ashamed and sad that we aren't doing a better job of truly LOVING each other as Christ says that we should. What is it He said in John 13:35? By your LOVE they will know you are my disciples?

This whole situation has made me do a lot of thinking...thinking about the people Jesus associated with and hung around. Sometimes as Christians, we think that we are being "righteous" or "holy" by only surrounding ourselves with what LOOKS GOOD and proper on the outside. We enjoy the appearance of perfection and cleanliness. Weren't there some people in the Bible like that also? Remember the ones that Jesus called "white-washed tombs"? (See Matt 23:27-28)

It's time we take a long hard look at ourselves and if that's our attitude, we need to hit our knees!!! Who are we not reaching with the gospel by trying to keep up our appearances? Jesus says it best when He tells us that it is easy to love someone who loves you back...anybody can do that! He calls us to the higher standard of loving our enemies...loving those whose lives are not sanitized...loving our brothers and sisters whose lives are not so pretty.

These are hard times and life is getting messy for lots of people. People who once had it 'all together' are losing their jobs. Families are falling apart under added pressures. Addictions are sky-rocketing as people try desperately to fill the void in their lives.  And let me ask you this, if they dare enter our churches to "try Jesus" in the midst of their pain...are we ready???

Can we truly show them Jesus by loving them right where they are at...in the midst of their mess and dirt and pain? Remember, sin has touched all of us...our own lives at one time carried the pungent stench of darkness and shame...until someone pointed us to Jesus. We're clean only because of Him. For us to take that gift and hold it up as some kind of trophy making us better than another person...well, it makes us exactly what Christ called the "blind Pharisees" in the Bible...

a hypocrite.

I pray that my church would be filled to the brim with people whose lives are messy and out-of-control and in desperate need of a Savior. I long for the chance to extend to them the grace that I have been given. I pray for the opportunity to show them the kind of love that only comes from Christ. And it's my heart's desire to be surrounded by an army of Christians who feel exactly the same way.

I'm just so ready to see the church...
be the church. 

Aren't you?

It's time to quit playing games with our Christianity.

It's time to stop doing the kind of stuff that brings shame to the name of Christ.

It's time to kill the pride that makes us think we are something, when truth be told, without Him we are mere nothings.

It's time to take up our crosses, get down in the trenches, and love people to Jesus...

no matter what it takes.

"Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves." 
Romans 12:10 

*Linking up at
Raising Homemakers 
Women Living Well 
Internet Cafe Devotions
Seeds of Faith 

For His glory,