In a world that teaches pride in the guise of self-esteem, it's a difficult teaching to say that we aren't the most special person alive. But none of us are. Even more importantly, nobody is special enough or good enough to be right with God through their own strength, looks, money, or intelligence.
But what you are is loved. With all your faults. With all your problems. In the midst of your brokenness, you are loved.
In Japan, they have a practice called kintsugi:
"It's the art of fixing broken pottery with lacquer resin dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum. As a philosophy it speaks to breakage and repair becoming part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise."Your brokenness makes you uniquely you. Despite the flaws being things that we may wish that never happened, they are what makes us who we are. God is a lot like the Japanese mindset that values an object that is broken and fixed. He loves us despite us being broken. And He fixes us.
"It is the embracing of the flawed or imperfect. Japanese culture values marks of wear by the use of an object over time. This can be seen both as a rationale for keeping an object around even after it has broken, and as a justification of kintsugi itself, highlighting the cracks and repairs as simply an event in the life of an object rather than allowing its service to end at the time of its damage or breakage."
Here's the thing with God's unconditional love. Being loved by God doesn't just apply to me. I'm not super special being the only one that is loved by God. Everyone is loved by God.
This is the heart of the gospel message. God loves you despite you being broken. He knew you would be broken and He still paid the price for you to be right with God. Yet He did the same for your neighbor. And He wants you to love your neighbor despite them being broken just like He loves you despite your brokenness. He knew we would all be unfaithful, yet He still came down to earth to show us how to live. This wasn't because of our greatness; this was because of His great love. This is the message we need to share with the world through both our words and action, all in love.
I find myself playing out of tune with God at times. I get distracted. Lose focus. Start worrying about things of this world rather than things of God, yet I am called, as are all of us, to be primarily spreaders of the love of God to others. That is our primary occupation whether we receive a paycheck through any other full-time occupation. No matter what our paying occupation may be, our primary occupation, if we claim to be Christians, is to spread God's love and bring about His will here on earth as it is in heaven.
The problem with the church today and the world around us is that many just claim to follow Jesus, yet they don't make following Jesus their life. This is ridiculous because we can't fool God. He knows whether we have given him our lives or not. He sees our heart.
After David had his affair with Bathsheba, he wrote a song. This is the David who God loved because David was a man chasing after God's heart. Yet David wasn't perfect. He made some serious mistakes. And having an affair with Bathsheba and having her husband killed was one of the worst. Yet this is what he said to God after facing the seriousness of his mistake.
You would not be pleased with sacrifices, or I would bring them.
If I brought you a burnt offering, you would not accept it.
The sacrifice you want is a broken spirit.
A broken and repentant heart, O God, you will not despise.
Psalm 51:16-17 (NLT)
David knew what God wanted. God wanted his heart. All of him. His passion. His focus. His goals.
He wants the same from us. Yet we get distracted.
I get focused on this or that. I stop trying to love others, and I become self-absorbed. Maybe you find yourself doing that at times too. When we fail, we need to be like David. He turned right around and gave God his heart.
We start to forget that we are all broken vessels who have been put back together by God for use by Him. We begin, once again, to think that it is all about us. We deserve what we have. We deserve to be selfish with our blessings.
But it's never about us.
We can't forget that.
It's never about us.
Everything gets messed up when we start to think things are about us.
Our society teaches us to look out for ourselves first -- that our needs and wants are the most important things to be met. And we all know that in following Jesus and getting right with God, our lives will have to be surrendered from loving ourselves to loving God and loving others. Our life will no longer be about us. It will be about Jesus.
The most baffling thing is that at the end of the day, loving God and loving others is actually the most loving thing we can do for ourselves. In giving ourselves up, we will find true purpose. In emptying ourselves for others and allowing God to refill us, we will find true contentment. In denying ourselves and living for God's higher vision, we will find true meaning. If you don't believe me, try it this week. Take twenty dollars and spend it on someone that you would never spend it on. They may think you're weird, but they will appreciate the gift. And you will also appreciate the giving. And in that, you may just find God.