Pastor's Weekly Musing

Hey everyone! The last time I made an appointment to see the dentist (which, admittedly, is far less frequent than I should), I partook in the silly behavior of flossing and brushing my teeth incessantly during the preceding three or four days. It was instinctual and compulsory. I HAD to do it. I HAD to put my best foot forward for the dentist, had to clean it up before I saw the expert.Have you ever done that? There's something about knowing you'll be measured and judged that freaks us out a bit, and causes us to do whatever we can to clean ourselves up in order to be impressive, or to minimize our weakness, or to project strength and together-ness.Why do I do this? If I'm honest, I do it because I'm terrified of being "outed". I'm terrified of a dentist -- a legit, bona fide, real-deal, educated, this-guy's-opinion-matters dentist -- looking at me and rendering a guilty verdict. So I (we?) brush and floss like crazy in order to mitigate the potential ugly judgement that we know we deserve.Do you ever do this with church? Or even with God Himself? You ever feel like you have to clean yourself up before you're allowed to enter God's house, or even pray? We can treat God like the Ultimate Dentist, the highest, bona fide, real-deal expert, who is bringing measurement and judgement, and with them a guilty verdict. So I brush and I floss (spiritually), and hide weakness and project strength anytime I do anything with the people of God or in the house of God or simply with God. It's exhausting trying to not be "outed" by God.Here's the thing though: if the cross shows us anything, it's that we've already been outed! The cross of Christ declares emphatically that we could not ever "measure up", could never "get it together" or "be enough". Christ came and did it for us, on our behalf. The cross is the proof.Romans 5:8 says "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."Did you catch that? Christ died for us "while we were still sinners." That means: BEFORE you got it together. He died for you before you tried to clean yourself up, before you made it, before you "flossed". And in so doing, He demonstrated just how much really loves us. That's what real love is, after all: to love and accept someone without any strings attached, without a caveat, without a quid-pro-quo, without an expectation, without a demand of repayment. God's pure love does that for us day after day, and the cross is the proof.Let us come to God every day not with a need to brush ourselves up before we see Him. Bring your whole mess to God, all of it. He loved you and died for you long before you got yourself into that mess. And He's promised to accept you and see you through that mess, today and every day. That's Good News!