Five Invitations - Day 22

DAY 22 - Embrace Messy
2 Samuel 9:3-5 

Relationships are messy.

King David learns he can bless his old friend’s only son, Mephibosheth. Ziba says, “He is lame in both feet.” Ziba may be saying, “He’s no threat to you, my king.” He’s also saying, “He’s got nothing valuable to offer you, David.”

The Hebrew word translated here as “lame” means “broken.” Mephibosheth’s feet had been broken and were still, in a way, broken - not what they could be. “Not what they could be” describes us. Mephibosheth’s physical condition is an analogy to our spiritual condition. We are spiritually broken without Jesus Christ. Our lives are messy, even after we commit to Christ. We’re all sinners. We’ve all been hurt by someone else’s sin. We are hurt people who hurt people. We’re all broken, all messy.

How can we be together with other messy people? How can we connect with God through tangled-up relationships?

Do what David does: embrace messy. Embrace the fact that people will disappoint you. Embrace the fact that people can be thoughtless and mean. Embrace the fact that everybody has some skeletons in the closet. Embrace the fact that everybody hurts. Embrace messy.

That doesn’t mean excusing sin. It doesn’t mean overlooking injustice. It doesn’t mean sweeping abuse under the rug. It doesn’t mean church teaching can be whatever we want. It doesn’t free us from chasing holiness to be like Jesus.

“Embrace messy” means loving who’s in front of you. It means giving up on finding perfect people. It means expecting a little more of myself and giving everyone else a little more mercy.

In his book, Life Together, Dietrich Bonhoeffer warns about the danger of shopping around for the perfect people: “The person who loves their dream of community will destroy community, but the person who loves those around them will create community.” Love the people in front of you.

Who is in front of you today to bless and love?

You love me, Father, despite my sin. Christ died for me while I was still a sinner! Help me love the people in front of me and “embrace messy.” Amen.

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