Updated: Aug 6, 2022
Did you ever meet anyone who said things are as good as they can be? Our minds and bodies do not work as they were designed. We also have a deep-rooted desire to violate the peace of God. Christians know the deep damage of sin although we all try hard to pretend the damage is someone else’s. Labels like depression, perfectionist, and the judgement of incomplete truths slip from our tongues and with evil ease we become prosecutor of God’s other damaged saints; a sharp word, a judgement or a critical spirit and we face the challenge either to rise above it or to fall down. Either way we are wounded. The struggle to work through anger and forgiveness to love and reconciliation is painful.
Paul Tournier said strong people cover up their weakness by their strength and weak people cover up their weakness with other weakness, but we are all weak. Shame covers every human being. We have all failed and come short of our own standards. It should not surprise us when God says that we have come short of His. We underestimate the active power of evil. It should not surprise me (but it often does) when I sin - in thought, word and action. This is the true experience of every human being.
Christ is the perfect Man, the man without sin. He became the scapegoat of the Old Testament, carrying our sin outside the camp. Too often we take the sins He has carried for other people and hold them up for inspection. If Christ has taken another’s sin, we will not take it back without facing judgement. When we do this we say His sacrifice is not enough. A commitment to forgive should result in at least three things: a reluctance to speak to other people about the wrongs done to me, a desire for a restored relationship and a reassurance of a commitment to the person we are forgiving. We have either Christ’s righteousness or our own. We must decide, every day, which is sufficient. Accepting His righteousness for our sin is the starting place for addressing the issues and of healing. We need have no fear of truth when it is packaged in love.
Martin Luther said there are two sides to fall off a horse. At CityGate we often talk about the “Gospel” in “Society”. Not easy truth to balance. We emphasize the importance of Christians not only standing in the gate of the gospel of salvation, but also participating fully in life on this earth as representatives of the Kingdom of God. Sometimes we may have forgotten to emphasise the experience at the gate as clearly as we should. Bowing down in repentance to the great King and receiving His judgement, His forgiveness and His gift of rebirth are central to the experience of life together.