Breathe in. Breathe out.
I am going to need a lot of grace here.
I am a classic firstborn. Independent. Strong-willed. A massive morality complex. With me, there aren’t any shades of gray. There’s black and white. Right and wrong.
And although it’s great to be committed to absolute truth and to biblical morals, I call my morality a complex because it also contains a lot of pride and legalism and judgment.
I am always trying to pick specks out of people’s eyes.
Remember George MacDonald? People preach best what they need to hear most.
Just know that I’m approaching this one with a lot of humility. And a lot of repentance. And it’s (mostly) for me, this preaching what Jenni needs to hear.
Understanding the Gospel means this: I understand that I am a sinner, incapable of any good. On my own, I have a wicked dark heart, capable of murder and lust and absolute evil.
Therefore, any goodness in me, any truth, any love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness or discipline comes only from God. I achieve and am nothing good on my own.
Preaching the Gospel is a place of absolute humility.
But the Gospel also means that in the midst of my mess and evil and darkness, I was loved and pursued by a God willing to give everything for me. At my very worst, I was (and am) still his prize. While we were still sinners…
Preaching the Gospel is also a place of absolute value.
The married man flirting with another woman? The co-worker who gambles himself deeper and deeper into debt? The woman who is with a different man every weekend and spews explicit details? Nothing separates me from these people, except by the grace of God. And, remember George MacDonald? People preach best what they need to hear most – the specks that rub me most wrong in other people are just pointing directly to the log-sized issues in my heart.
I am no different. And God loves them – deeply, passionately – while they are still sinners. Each person I encounter is absolutely valuable, deeply treasured. Because God loves them.
Preaching the Gospel to myself gives this great platform from which I am equipped to offer compassion to everyone I meet. Because as I find myself in this place of humility and great worth, I find myself side-by-side with sinners, equally humbled and equally loved: a place where God’s grace can extend.
This is the Gospel: to tremble at the great love God shows these broken jars of clay.
This is the Gospel: Every one I meet is greatly loved and greatly valued and greatly in need of God.
Even, and most definitely, me.