My wife has an obsession with that bagged ice you buy from the large freezers outside gas station convenient stores. As often occurs, she buzzed me recently to ask if I would pick up a few bags on my drive home so she could keep her oversized plastic cups full of unsweetened iced tea.
So I picked up two bags for her on my way home.
I found what was left of them in the back seat of my car the next morning.
I shared this on social media because, well, self-deprecating humor is my schtick. My timelines blew up. It seems a lot of people connect with the silly, mistake-ridden stupidity of others. And it’s understandable, right? We like to know we’re not the only one that does dumb things from time to time.
(Remind me to tell you about the time my wife grabbed the wrong suitcase off the airport conveyer while I was getting the rental car and we didn’t notice until an hour later when we were checking into our hotel 30 miles up the road).
It’s funny. We chuckle. We exhale and silently say, “I’m so glad she does that, too.” Our fallibility connects us in a strange sort of way. It’s good to make light of our humanity in these sorts of ways and not always take ourselves so seriously all the time.
But in this “share all our vulnerabilities” culture we find ourselves in today, we seem to have moved beyond bravely recognizing our human brokenness. Now we celebrate it. I’m not referring to absent-mindedly forgetting perishables in the back of your car or mis-identifying your luggage, it’s much more serious than that. In our desire to connect through our weaknesses, have we swerved into making sin seem admirable?
Some things weren’t meant to be taken so lightly.
In a world full of judgmental moralists (both religious and secular), we’re always looking for ways to make Christianity more real and relevant to imperfect people (because, well, imperfect people are all that there are). But if we’re not careful we just end up missing the Gospel in a totally different way.
Grace is the greatest gift a loving God could have ever given his fallen Creation, but grace doesn’t mean our brokenness doesn’t matter. Grace doesn’t eliminate the standard of righteousness, it simply clarifies the Source of human righteousness. We need a Savior. We are not the heroes of our own stories.
As we look inside ourselves and find lack, we will find undeniable camaraderie with others in our shared brokenness. That is a good thing. Everyone needs Jesus. But here’s the caution: If we’re not careful, we will begin to celebrate our common imperfections instead of the God that loves us in spite of those imperfections. There is a key difference here.
The Gospel reveals a God who loves sinners, but Jesus never made light of sin. In fact, He gave up His life to destroy it.