Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Small = Insignificant {don't believe the lie}

I pulled up this little space on the internet to once again speak about what was in my heart, which I felt was important to speak, for myself and possibly for others.  My thoughts were related to being small, not despising the small, that God came small.  He comes to the poor in Spirit.  He comes to the outcast and always to the broken.

And then my eyes landed on this post written by a man I sometimes read but not always and my focus was turned, at least I thought my focus was turned.  It's all kind of related really, very subtly related.

After reading through My Wife's Plea to Christian Men I recognized a tendency that has developed in the church, the tendency to want to cut off the fruit without addressing the root.  Could there be something that has been forgotten or overlooked?  Maybe the forgotten, the small is really significant and not the other way around.  You see sin, no matter what it looks like, is a big deal and it is always an issue of the heart.

The Gospel is and always has been an issue of the heart.  Every sin we commit, is not simply a fruit that needs to be lopped off, it is an issue IN OUR HEART.  But here's one problem, we don't want to look into our hearts to see the depth of who we really are, to acknowledge the broken places that need attention and need healing.  We don't want to bring the small things of our heart, the secret things of the heart that seem insignificant, out into the light with our spouse or a trusted mentor BEFORE they manifest themselves into the BIG things.  

Two side comments on that last statement:

1.  There is no BIG sin, little sin...she's right when she states:

"This isn't a special sin, it is just sin:  
God-belittling, Christ-mocking, Spirit-despising sin"

That statement applies to ALL our sin...we've just forgotten or maybe we just don't want to remember or admit that our misuse of food or off-hand snarky comment to our friend or selfishness is really sin.  We don't want to pull out our anger issue, or discontentment because we have been deceived into believing that it so small what we really need to do is just cover it with a band-aid so no one can see it until it goes away.  We don't see our desperate need of rescue until our heart manifests itself in some more obvious way.  What we need is not a band-aid but radical surgery, even in regard to the seemingly smaller. less obvious issues in our hidden heart, and not just one time, EVERY.SINGLE.DAY!!

2.  Let's admit what is not happening consistently in the local church ~ there is very little heart to heart, painfully honest, sin confessing, burden bearing, on our knees grieving, side by side mentoring happening in the church at large.  I'm not saying it is NOT happening at all, it is.  It's happening small and secret and God is in those places accomplishing purposes for his kingdom that no one ever sees.  And that's how it has been from the beginning!!!  God came small, to a manger, to the poor and He showed his glory to a few, insignificant, dirty stinky shepherds!!  And He still works the same way!

There is HOPE and POWER in the Gospel.  It's found when we sit with our friends in the more obvious places of brokenness like adultery and porn addition and it's found when we sit with our 4-year old in the midst of her temper tantrum that only a few are aware of.  In both situations there is a HEART issue and the rescue needed in every situation we face, big or small, is provided by the HOPE and POWER of the Gospel through the Spirit of Truth that is alive within us.

If we aren't willing to look to the small issues, there will always be bigger issues eventually.  The infection of sin just sits there underneath the band-aid of secrecy and shame until it festers into something more obvious.  The ONLY way to stop the BIG (more obvious) manifestations of sin is to rip off the band-aid and start confessing your small, seemingly insignificant heart issues to God first, (obviously he already knows your heart anyway), and then to a REAL LIVE PERSON!!!  There is no other way.  We were created for community and relationship and it looks a lot different than just showing up at Bible study on Tuesday morning or Wednesday evening small group or even Thursday Men's prayer time.  If there's not more going on between the men and women in these times of gathering together than discussing the truth of scripture or praying for the needs of the people around you, then we're missing the boat, and we're missing it BIG!!  Keeping the little foxes hidden in the secret depths of our heart is only going to create more of what we see already happening in our easy access, at your fingertips, hidden in the palm of your hand, self gratifying culture of individualism and secrecy.  How WILL it stop?  Well, not by just stopping, that's for sure.  After the infection of sin has grown to the obvious, then sure, you need to stop but what else?  Where do you go from there?  What's the real remedy to the malady of sin and addiction? 

Simple answer? Look in your own heart.  Ask the Spirit to reveal your sin and then confess it, repent and believe the TRUTH about who you are and who God is!!  Live life every day with the understanding that what Tim Keller says is true:

"The gospel is this:  We are more sinful and flawed in ourselves than we ever dared believe, yet at the very same time we are more loved and accepted in Jesus Christ than we ever dared hope."

And enter into relationship with a trusted human who is sinful just like you and sees their need of Jesus in the small, insignificant, less obvious manifestations of sin in their own life.  After listening to this interview with Tullian Tchividjian I'm tempted to think he might agree with this prescription!

The churning that started my thoughts in regard to what this post turned out to be look quite different than what I first envisioned.  The culmination of this post is birthed out of what is graciously being worked in my own heart that was prompted after interacting with some very special women over the past few weeks.  Women who sit in bedrooms on Sunday afternoon for 2 hours pouring out the small. gut level honest, hard truth about the struggles in her heart.  Women who come and eat and chat till past midnight about what is happening in her heart and life after working a 12 hour shift.  Women who admit that their lives are hard and chaotic and desperately lonely!  Women who love me in my mess and who send me text messages that read:

 "This was encouraging to me--'rather than resenting my weakness,
I believe Jesus is asking me to confess my weakness.  Being poor in spirit doesn't mean despising self but releasing self from the expectation of being anything but poor. Small. Helpless. Worn.'"  (emphasis mine)
 credit Simply Tuesday.  

This nurturing of life doesn't just happen in the lives of women around me, although it seems that women are more accustomed to this type of relating.  It's not impossible for men to move from their head to their heart and be honest with themselves and one another about what's really going on deep down where we forget to look.  But it takes intention, time and an understanding that this little thing is kind of a big thing, that confessing sin and bearing one another's burdens needs to begin with the seemingly small, insignificant sin in our heart.  Small does not equal insignificant.  Maybe seeing that the small is necessary and significant and beneficial and preventative is a beginning to understanding how we got here in the first place.

My heart grieves too over the brokenness I see, not only in the headlines and around me but within my own heart.  Let's preach the Gospel to ourselves over and over and live every day knowing that we are small, needy sinners in need of rescue by a BIG God.




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