Freedom In Our Messiness!

This is an excerpt from my book, Rum and Cola for the Survivor’s Soul available on Amazon

Freedom to Admit You Still Don’t Have It All together

I am completely aware of how “not OK” I really am. I know that God accepts me as if I were perfect. I get to enter into his presence as if I wasn’t still a messed up person who loves freely one minute and then goes white trash bitter in the next minute. He sees me as if I had never done all the things I can’t admit in a public blog post (Cause y’all ain’t God, and you ain’t capable of not condemning my deepest issues…)

The God who is perfect and rules this universe accepts me even though I’ve done things I don’t even like to admit to myself and because he accepts me in all of my un-ok-ness, I no longer want to simply feel better about myself, I want to become better.

Freedom From Religion

The more I think about this in relation to the crucifixion of Jesus, the more I think that the crucifixion proves two things: The complete un-ok-ness of humanity and the complete inability of religion to fix it.

I mentioned before (earlier in my book) about how crazy it was that the religious leaders of Jesus’ day missed his birth. Ironically, the wise men came and asked some of the leaders where it was supposed to take place. The leaders shared the prophecies with them but didn’t go check for themselves.

All kinds of other prophecies were fulfilled and they saw all kinds of signs. But Jesus didn’t make them feel good about themselves; he saw the darkness in their hearts so they plotted against him.

They couldn’t come up with a legitimate reason to arrest Jesus so they decided to try to trap him. They sent spies. They tried to trick him by asking a question about taxes. If he answered in line with what the leaders all believed, that God doesn’t want them to give money to Rome, they would hypocritically report him to Rome. They had to know that they were being hypocrites. But he made them uncomfortable. He tried to get them to confront the darkness in their own hearts, the brokenness in their own souls, and they didn’t want to face that. None of us do. They just wanted to get rid of Jesus. Sometimes we all do.

Since they could find no real reason to arrest him and everyone knew that, the chief priests had Jesus arrested at night and had a trial in the home of the chief priest. Which in case you didn’t know was totally not the way things were supposed to be done.

Obviously, no one thought this was a fair trial. It was against Roman rule and the ethics of any civilized society. But they were powerful religious leaders and their kingdom was more important to them than God’s, though they claimed to be serving him.

Before Jesus had been tried or accused of anything, the guards were allowed to mock him and abuse him. How could anyone believe this was the way to bring about true, God-honoring justice?

Because the Jewish nation was under Roman rule, the assembly which had arrested Jesus had to take him to Pilate to have him executed. They accused Jesus of telling people they didn’t need to pay taxes to Caesar. Their earlier trick didn’t work, so they just lied. They claimed that they wanted Pilate to punish Jesus because he was subversive and claimed to be their king. Yet if Jesus had been willing to overthrow Pilate and make them rulers, they would have all followed him.

God came to earth and walked around in flesh as one of us. He served people and told them how much God loves us all. He refused to get into politics and he confronted the abuse of power by the religious elite. This is what got him killed. It’s not a judgment on the Jews, it’s a judgment on all of us and all of our religions. Honestly, before you think I’m being hard on the Jews, look at Christians on social media today. They claim to be following Jesus, but they are mostly following American politics and the unwritten religion of the American dream.

Pilate questioned Jesus and found nothing to punish him for. Then he found a way to get rid of the problem by sending Jesus to Herod. Herod, another Roman ruler, also questioned Jesus and found nothing to condemn him for so he sent him back to Pilate.

Neither pagan leader found anything to punish Jesus for, so they tried to release him, but the Jewish crowds insisted. They chose to have Barabbas set free and demanded that Jesus be crucified. Consider this: Barabbas actually was trying to lead riots against Rome, which shows the hypocrisy of the religious leaders and the crowd that was listening to them.

The crucifixion of Jesus demonstrates how the world reacts to the uncomfortable reality of the brokenness inside of all of us. We all want to feel like we are right and be comfortable more than we want to actually be on the often-uncomfortable path of becoming right.

Freedom to Follow and Grow

Thankfully, there is more to the story! If not, there would be no point of any of this. ‘Cause guess what? Knowing you’re a mess doesn’t fix anything. Recognizing that you need Jesus to help with your mess changes everything. 

When we follow him, he gives us freedom to deal with every messy, broken piece of our life. He fully accepts us and empowers us to keep getting better the more we walk with him. Honestly, it’s the hardest and most amazing thing. (As I’ve shared throughout this book.) The power comes through Jesus walking through life with me!

So, sorry… not sorry, for admitting that I have a lot of stuff to work on. I am not trying to tell you about how great I am. It’s all about how great Jesus is. I’m a messy person who is slowly becoming less messy. I hope fully claiming this lets you know we are all in this together. I hope that you see me as fully alive and full of hope and joy because I’m growing and actually becoming a better person. I also hope we can pray for each other and you can call me out when I do things I shouldn’t (which is unfortunately still quite often!).

Blessings my friends!