Sometimes it’s hard to express your feelings to the people around you. Not because you’re afraid of what they’ll say, but because our culture doesn’t seem to be very keen on being honest about their pains. The reality is that way too many people are putting on a facade of perfection in order to keep people from knowing how they are truly hurting. It’s as if everyone feels like showing pain is a sign of weakness. I’m here to tell you that it’s okay to not be okay sometimes. It’s okay to admit that you’re hurting, broken or even confused about your current spot in life. It’s okay…Remember, even Jesus himself wept.
I remember growing up in church and always feeling a little intimidated when one of the pastors would walk by my family in the foyer or hallway. There was this reverence and awe that came over me each and every time I saw one of them, and I believe it was because I truly did respect the calling that God had placed on each of their lives. But while my reverence for them was vast, my parents always took the time to remind me that they need Jesus just as much as the next person. They didn’t say this with ill-intent, but instead to give me an honest look at the reality of the Christian life. That we’re going to make mistakes. That we all are in need of Jesus.
I remember sitting on the floor of our youth building one Sunday morning while one of the dads who attended our church led a small group for me and four other boys. I was bored, I was ready to leave, and I was hoping he didn’t ask me if I memorized the Bible verse from last week; because I didn’t.
I’ve run into a lot of people in my life who seem to think that their relationship with God is for them to know and for others to not worry about. And while I agree with them to a certain extent, the biblical text is clear that our relationships with God are called to be anything but private. Personal, yes. Private, no.
God’s scandalous grace invaded Portage, Wisconsin, with unwelcomed splendor in April of 1994. It targeted a criminal serving multiple life-sentences in the Columbia Correctional Institution. It’s not uncommon for thieves and murderers in prison to receive God’s grace, but this day was different. The person who attracted God’s love was a man who killed 17 young men.