And this mess is so big and so deep and so tall, we cannot pick it up. There is no way at all! —Dr. Seuss, The Cat in the Hat
Remember being in college and finding out your mom was coming to visit? Your dorm room was clean in less than 10 minutes. Sure, everything was crammed beneath beds and into closets. But it appeared tidy, and that made Mom happy.
We do this later in life, too. Only now, we aren’t dealing with clothes littering the floor, but indiscretions littering our past. Many people hide addictions and poor decisions.
I’ve decided there are two types of people in life—tidy people and messy people. If tidy people had their way, there’d only be one type of person because tidy people are always trying to fix messy people.
This attitude makes it inside the Church, doesn’t it? We see messy people, and we aren’t sure what to do. Do we invite them inside? Once they come inside, are we supposed to tidy them up? We have good intentions, and a lot of churches approach it like this.
Also, what is the Church supposed to do with tidy people trying to hide huge messes? Their lives look great, but if we poke around, we notice they are tidy only by appearance. They are actually messy people trying to hide. Is the Church supposed to call them out?
Rather than asking the question, “What do churches do with people like this?” maybe we should ask, “What will Jesus do with people like this?” (since the Church is the body of Christ, after all!).
So I have some good news today. It’s good news for the messy people and good news for the tidy people in disguise. Jesus came for messy people.
So let’s dive in and look at how Jesus dealt with messy people. If we look at what Jesus did, then we’ll know what Jesus will do now. For Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. And the Spirit who indwells all believers will express Himself through us today just as He expressed Himself on earth back then.
Jesus, I invite Your Spirit to probe mine: Am I a mess, or do I appear tidy while hiding my mess? Show me if I’m trying to fix myself before coming to You. Bring to mind interactions with other messy people. Do I embrace them, or do I try to fix them? Amen.
Learn more from Pete’s teaching on Luke, What Will Jesus Do?