You and I are both broken, worn and beat-up from sin, torn and tattered from heartbreak and rejection and hurt. We’re all pretty broken people, stumbling around looking for love in all the wrong places. Jesus knows this and loves us even more because of our brokenness; that’s why he came to save us in the first place.
The crazy thing is, God knows us fully, and knows all of our sin, and loves us the exact same. Psalm 139 says “Before a word is on my tongue, You know it completely,” and “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?” God knows us deeply, completely, and loves us recklessly. He sees all our pain and sin and takes us anyway.
One time, I found myself in Dubai, in the line to get through security at the airport. After a 10-hour flight from Johannesburg, I was beat up and ready to be home. Back in Johannesburg, just before we left for the airport, the house I was staying in had a controlled power-outage, something critical to save energy in South Africa. So, we had to hastily throw our stuff together while the lights were still on and hit the road before our house lost power, giving us 20 minutes to pick two weeks worth of gear. I packed my suitcase to it’s limits and stuffed my backpack with whatever didn’t fit in the suitcase and jumped in the car. Little did I know that among the things crammed in my backpack were two very large knives. Little did I know, that is, until my bag set off an alarm in security in Dubai. Having gotten past security in Johannesburg without any issues, I figured the alarm meant nothing. I stepped aside, and an Arabic woman calmly searched through my backpack, and one-by-one, slowly pulled out these two huge pocket knives. I was shocked that I had gotten all the way to Dubai with those things, but I tried to play it cool anyway. “Oh oops, just throw those away. I don’t really need them I guess,” was all I said. The woman searching my bag stared at me solemnly, and then shouted something in a foreign language across the room. It sounded harsh and scary, and I guessed that she had probably shouted something like “Get the taser, we’ve got a knife-terrorist on our hands!” Within a minute, I was swarmed by a dozen middle-eastern safety personnel. I tried to stay calm, but incoherent harsh Arabic was being flung back and forth, and I was caught in the middle of it all, trying to act like everything was okay. Pictures of my passport were taken, and I was strictly told not to return to Dubai anytime soon. And, worst of all, they kept the knives. But, nevertheless, they let me into their country. I walked through those airport gates as a free, kniveless man, and I eventually made it safely back to the States.
Like those the hidden knives in my bags, we’ve all got hidden brokenness and sin in our stories. And just like those security guards, God takes us in anyway. Like me in Dubai, we try to act like it’s all okay, maybe we cover the brokenness and tuck it away, so it can’t see the light of day. Unlike those security guards though, Jesus looks at our brokenness and turns it into something awesome. He doesn’t want us to hide it, He wants us to grow from it and learn from mistakes. It’s like if those security guards had taken my knives and carved a sweet statue with them, and then given it to me as a free gift, except way better. It doesn’t really make sense sometimes either- God’s grace is pretty incomprehensible. To me, it seems wild that the Creator of the Universe takes our imperfections and makes us whole again, it seems insane that He accepts us no matter what.
That’s the awesome thing about Jesus. His death on the cross and resurrection wasn’t limited to just people who hadn’t done that much wrong, or to people who weren’t that broken. His gift of new life is for everyone, and those of us who are broken- which is all of us- need it even more. In Mark 2:17, Jesus says “I didn’t come to help the righteous, but the sinners. For it is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.” You and I are both broken sinners, and Jesus came for us.
2 Corinthians 5:16 says “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” Jesus gives us new life, He gives us freedom from sin that we desperately need. For those of us who have accepted his gift; live like it. Begin each day knowing that you’re a new creation, that Jesus has given you new life and you don’t need to worry about the weight of the world. You’ve got nothing to prove and nothing to lose. For those of you who haven’t yet, you can accept it anytime. It’s never too late, you’re never too far gone for God’s grace.
Think about the knives in your life, the stuff you tuck away and try to ignore. For me, sometimes that’s my selfishness or mistakes from my past. The God of the Universe sees that stuff and loves you regardless. He wants to use you and me despite our brokenness, He wants to fix stuff like our selfishness and teach us through mistakes, and it’s awesome and unbelievable. He’ll take every hidden knife, and we’ll never be the same.