The article, Helping the “Healthy” crossed my screen this morning. In it Craig Barnes raises the point that our churches have developed plans and programs to reach the prodigals and help them return to the loving arms of the Father but there is another group out there that just a badly need to experience the love and forgivenss of the Father. A group who may find it harder to experience that amazing love simply because they aren’t aware of how much they really need it.
“…not being a flagrant sinner is a particularly seductive means of rebellion. This was essentially Jesus’ point to the Pharisees. Those who have notbroken the rules may be farther from the Father’s arms than those who’ve broken most all of them. Sin is anything that separates us from God, and nothing does that quite like not feeling the need for mercy.”
Remaining separated from God because we have luled ourselves into a sense of complacency or self-sufficiency by believing that we are “good people” who do “good things”. It may be our own thoughts or the words of others around us…but when we begin to believe that we have life all figured out and have put our house in order we no longer find ourselves in such radical need of experiencing the love of Jesus.
I was talking with someone this afternoon and he talked about a church he knew of that had a miracle parking lot. People would go through the week struggling with pressures, sin, doubts and hardship…then on Sunday morning as their car turned into the church parking lot all of that would fade away and when asked how they were doing the reply was, “Just great, how about you.”
I am afraid we too often build up veneers that do not allow others, and ourselves, to deal with the reality of our life struggles. We are so concerned with having others see us in a positive way we do not honestly deal with who we are and our need for a loving savior. Sometimes those of us who are the best at looking like we have it all together are the farthest from the loving arms of Jesus because we have lost the sense of our need for forgiveness and grace.
A great article challenging those sons who have “stayed near the Father as the prodigals have gone off to pursue other loves” to consider and reconsider how the appearance of faithfulness may keep us from experiencing the full measure of the love and grace of Jesus.