About a month and a half ago, I had a meeting with a family member (let's call her "A"), and a counselor because of a rift between this family member and I that we could not solve on our own. "A" was hurt by some interactions we'd had and was keeping a wall up in between us, that I could feel every time we were around each other. Our interactions had been limited since January of 2008, but believe me, every time we were in the same room, I could feel that barrier. And this from a person that I have been close to my entire life.
This was really difficult for me. I am not used to family members shutting down on me. I have always prided myself on being a person that is closer to most of my family members than the others are. You know, because I'm such a good person (ick...NOT!). It was a source of validation for me, since I usually feel so unworthy.
Just before the meeting, I decided I was going to sit down and make a timeline of the events, so that I would have something objective to look at and reference during the meeting, because I have a tendency to get emotional and forget stuff, and I was afraid to forget something important. So I sat down with my Bible and a piece of paper and a pen, ready to write down all the ways our relationship went wrong, and where I felt we needed to work on it. I had an idea in my mind of where this was going to go, since I had her nasty email that she sent me right in front of me. In fact, I was going to make my timeline on this email. I sat down ready to accuse her.
Then God showed up.
Sitting on my couch, early one morning, God came and showed me everything I had done wrong in that relationship. All the wrongs I had committed, every way I had acted arrogant toward her and been prideful in my heart and bitter in my speech.
God wrecked me.
And it was the sweetest, most beautiful moment between He and I, and I realized then that when we went into that meeting, there was nothing left for her to accuse me of. My wrongdoings had already been terrible enough that Jesus had to die to take God's punishment off of my head. His death was required for my sin. I was as bad as she was saying. And worse.
This reaches so far into my life, and if I would just hold onto it, I could see so much more clearly. It doesn't take much for me to get caught up in feeling like people should be nice to me or like I deserve something. But if I could remember that my very existence before God was so detestable that the only way for me to be made acceptable to Him was the death of His Son, then I would do well.
"A" had nothing left to accuse me of, because anything she could have thought up was true. My husband has nothing left to accuse me of, because I have done and thought so much worse than he can bring up. You....you can say nothing bad about me that isn't true on some level, because if I'm not doing it now, certainly I have, or have thought of doing it, which the Bible says counts.
On the flip side of that, I have nothing to accuse "A" of because who I am apart from Jesus and what I've done in my life is so bad, it caused Jesus to be put to death. I have nothing left to accuse my husband or children of, because I have done and thought so many terrible things in my life, were it not for Jesus, the punishment required would be an eternity of torment in hell. I have nothing to accuse you of, because Jesus is the only reason I can stand here today in freedom. The only reason.
The point I want desperately to make is that it all hinges on Jesus, and the life He lived which was perfect. Since I could never be perfect, and perfection is what is required to enter into eternity with God, I need Jesus. The Bible teaches that all can freely come to Jesus, but there is something required of us, and that is faith. Not just a kind of faith that agrees, but the kind of faith that trusts, like trusting a parachute when you jump out of a plane. It is not enough to know about Jesus, and his death on the cross and resurrection. We have to trust Him with our very lives, which involves leaving our sin behind and pressing toward Him. We will never achieve perfection, but we agree with God that we cannot do it on our own, that we mess up a lot, and that we need Jesus.
That is the gospel.