Imagine you’re on a big cruise ship, and you look out to see someone who has fallen overboard. Any good human is going to grab a life preserver and toss it overboard. By no work or merit of their own do you choose to save that person. You see them struggling and about to drown, so you save them. The only choice they have in this situation is to allow themselves to be saved. It’s not even a matter of whether or not they can see you, or believe in you, it is simply choosing to grab onto the life preserver. Pride may tell them they don’t need help, or sloth may say it’s not worth trying, but the choice is theirs.
Now if we change the story to be Jesus holding out that life preserver to you who is drowning, suddenly many of us think that by our faith or merit, Jesus decided to throw the life preserver out to you. That you some how earned the right to be saved, or that because we know Him or have seen Him that He chose to save us. I am here to tell you this image of Jesus is wrong and it’s a toxic trap. Jesus chooses to save us by His own grace. Did He not die for us while we were still living in sin? People receive mercy, when they choose to surrender. Mercy is for you, mercy is for everyone, as long as we are willing to surrender our entire selves.
His mercy alone will always be enough, yet so few souls believe that. Here we have man who was made and chosen by God to protect all of creation, yet everyday the men in our society are crumbling under the overwhelming odds they face and the constant burden of feeling alone in the battle. So he falls. God does not make mistakes, yet Satan has convinced many men that they are not capable of being good fathers, husbands or brothers. So why bother trying? Therefore they fall into abandoning or abusing these duties.
Then on the other side we have the crown of all creation. The only one not made straight from dirt, the grand finale of creation, woman. Woman was chosen to be the connecting piece, the intuitive one, the bearer of new life. And now woman has put her trust in the wrong places, and because of that, has fallen. Now the crown of creation goes everyday living in the fear of not being enough. Now we have men and women living in fear of the very thing they were made for. And our sins reflect those fears. A woman looks at pornography in search of being enough. A man drinks excessively to blind himself to the odds he faces.
The only way to fix this brokenness is through the perfect sacrifice. God sent His only begotten Son, to die for our sins in perfect love that casts out all fear. Then fearlessly we can fall into His mercy. But we have to want it, we have to trust in it. It’s the like the dirty boy who needs a bath. He will never be clean again unless he takes a bath. And he will never be completely clean unless he places his entire self into the water. Not only that, but this is a choice we must make daily. Getting clean once, does not prevent us from getting dirty later. If only we could see the filth that sin leaves on our souls. We become so dirty we are beyond recognition. Why? Because our sin does not define at all who we are. Yet the world will tell you it does. For our sins, Christ’s body was beaten beyond recognition of the eye, but the hearts of those who knew His soul still recognized Him and still loved Him. And Christ does the same for us, though we are dirty and festering with the wounds of sin. Have you ever seen an animal with dirt caked on it so bad that if you peel it off the flesh comes with it? This is what it’s like to have a dirty soul. This is why the sacrament of confession is so important. We need to be bathed and reminded of who we truly are, and we ought to do it often. Yet here some of us arey, dipping ourselves further into sin. Falling into pleasures, hoping to be understood, to discover who we are, or strive to live up to what we think we should be. Do you really think you were made to be understood in terms of sex?
Stop letting the fear of the overwhelming odds, or not being enough stand in the way of what you were made for. It is you. It is you that Christ has chosen since the moment God said let there be light. He is not waiting for your perfection. He is waiting for your surrender. Christ stumbled three times on His journey to the throne. Will you not stumble a million times more? And was Christ not God Himself? He humbled himself to take on our wounds. He took on our sins. Instead of being the war hero who was stoic and strong, who could fight any battle with one finger, like we would expect, through His own choice, surrendered His infinite power. So that we, the weaker ones, could crucify Him. Just so that He could be the sacrifice, and in the face of death surrender to it. This is the gift He freely chose to give. To humble Himself, to be a reflection of us, in total lack of comfort or ability to fight back. All of this to simply say the truth to our broken hearts. That there is nothing that could separate us from His reach. And He rose again to show us that He has indeed conquered death. What now is left to fear, but fear itself? This choice seems easy and clear. Yet many, when given the choice, choose death rather than mercy. Mercy freely given and received by our surrender makes a saint. But he who refuses to encounter mercy, ultimately chooses hell. Be a Saint! Be not Afraid!