Why is the Gospel so rarely lived out?
We often share the Gospel. We meet up at Musty the Mustang and break off into guy/girl pairs and look for people sitting by themselves so we can ask them if they'd like to take a survey so we can steer them towards spirituality and hopefully share the Gospel with them. I have seen people respond with incredulity when they hear the Gospel. I have seen others astounded by it.
But I have also seen the way people respond to the simple message that God loves him/her regardless of the past, the present and the future; regardless of mistakes and insufficiencies, regardless of "every moment of sin, shame and dishonesty," regardless of our "shallow faith, feeble prayer life and our inconsistent discipleship." To all these, God responds, "I dare you to trust that I love you just as you are and not as you should be. Because you're never going to be as you should be."*
The moment people come to terms with what this means, they usually start crying. It is at this moment where they realize that everything they've searched for; everything they've yearned for is fulfilled in absolute, uncompromising, unshakable and unconditional love. They feel safe, beloved and understood.
And the best part is that we, as ambassadors of Christ, have the opportunity to bring this message to people. We have the privilege of loving God's people.
But do we?
I've realized it's much harder to communicate the true meaning of unconditional love when we feel far from it ourselves. This is why it is so important to prepare our spirits before we go out sharing with others. We must be reminded of what grace looks and feels like in order for us to effectively communicate it to others.
I am constantly reminded of how fragile our egos are. When I see people lash out, when I see them drowning in self-hatred or even pride, I realize these are all just defense mechanisms, designed to block out feelings of shame over our sin.
Fortunately, the Gospel has the power to break through our self defenses. To break though my sense of self-righteousness that I use to not feel the shame of my mistakes. To break through the self-hatred that I feel when I confront my failures. To break through all my barriers of defense until all that is left of me is a little patch of dirty and fertile soil, with the potential for life to grow.
And I realize that all God wanted in the first place was to offer me some sustenance to see me have life abundant.
*Brennan Manning, FTW