Friday, July 29, 2011


As I've worked to overcome depression the last 6 months or so, I have listened to one certain song over and over again and it's really ministered to my heart and helped me heal. It's called "You Love Me Anyway" by the group Sidewalk Prophets. You can watch the video here. In that song, there's a powerful refrain that goes like this:

"I am the thorn in Your crown, but You love me anyway. I am the sweat from Your brow, but You love me anyway. I am the nail in Your wrist, but You love me anyway. I am Judas’ kiss, but You love me anyway."

I don't know about you but many, many times I've felt like the nail in Christ's wrist and I've felt like Judas' kiss of betrayal. I've chosen to sin, I've chosen to rebel, I've chosen to settle for less than God's best and have done what I wanted or what felt good in the moment - but when you do whatever feels good, it doesn't feel good for long. And pretty soon, I feel like I personally betrayed God. And in a sense, anytime we sin, we actually do personally betray the Lord.

Yet the majesty of grace is that even if I had literally driven a nail into Christ's wrist or if I had literally betrayed Jesus with a kiss on the cheek, He would love me anyway. It's amazing how Jesus welcomed back and restored Peter after he had betrayed Jesus. Based on that, although I have no Biblical basis to prove it, I really do think Jesus would welcomed back and restored Judas if Judas hadn't committed suicide.

You see, that's the power and the beauty of grace. Whether we directly betray God like Judas did or we indirectly betray Him like Peter did, Jesus welcomes us back with open arms. In the same way that the rainbow is a reminder from God that He will never again flood the whole earth, the cross stands forever as a reminder that no matter what, God will always take us back. The cross is an everlasting reminder of God's grace no matter what we do - past, present, or future.

I have been the nail in His wrist. I have been Judas' kiss. And He loves me anyway.

Now that's grace - the grace of God.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Bring a mop.

"A bruised reed He will not break, and a smoldering wick He will not snuff out." - Isaiah 42:3 NIV

This verse came alive to me in a very personal way this weekend. I was listening to a talk from a church planting conference and the speaker mentioned this verse as part of the introduction to his message, but it hit me like a Mack truck.

Read that verse again. Really ...go read it again right now. Do you see the mind-blowing, wonderful, amazingly indescribable grace of God in that verse?

To think that God would see a bruised and bent life and not break it; to think that God would see one little lingering flick where there should be a smoldering fire and He would not extinguish it that's grace.

Last week I heard a pastor who had committed adultery, was restored, and has now started a new church talk about how Christianity should not be about shooting our wounded, but how we should just "get a mop" and, with the power of Christ, help them clean up the mess they've made of their lives.

Hrmm. Seems to me Isaiah 42:3 is basically saying that God is in the business of getting a mop. That when He could rightfully come across a bruised reed and break it, He doesn't. That when He sees a smoldering wick, He doesn't blow it out. That God loves to redeem and renew. That God is in the business of raising the dead. Wow. Now that's grace!

Are you tired? Are you feeling worn out? Do you feel like you can't go on anymore? You just really need a break right now? If life too much for you to handle right now? If you feel like that, you're probably a bruised reed or a smoldering wick. Honestly, I've felt that way a lot in recent weeks.

But isn't it overwhelmingly wonderful to know that even though God sees our mess, our brokenness, our sin, and our failures, He doesn't break us or condemn us - He just gets a mop? That's the grace of God right there.

And if God sees our mess and gets a mop, then when we see another Christian make a mess of their lives, we should just go alongside them and get a mop. That does not mean we ignore or downplay what they did and that does not mean they they are exempt from discipline or from the consequences of their sin. There is a place and time for discipline and consequences; those are a very important part of redemption.

But instead of just throwing them under the bus, our first reaction should be to go alongside those bruised reeds and smoldering wicks and bring a mop. I think that's what God would do.