Updated: Jan 31
"They have healed the brokenness of My people superficially, Saying, 'Peace, peace,' But there is no peace." Jeremiah 6:14
It's been in churches with skinny jeans, strobe lights and smoke machines... It's been in the churches with suits and ties and one, singular piano...
It's been at conferences, summer camps, concerts and events..
The place and the setting doesn't matter but the cry of hunger, deep, deep in the soul does. The cry is, "Give me something real!"
In the book of Matthew, Jesus calls out the religious crowd for their hypocrisy by quoting the prophet Isaiah, "You worship me with your lips but your heart is far from Me". The Pharisees cared more about their appearance and following the traditions that made them look superior than about the people all around them who needed to know the love of God. I've been like that and it's, sadly, a common thing in religious settings. We lose ourselves in the one-liners, the facial expressions and the routine performance of being a Christian while the world is grasping at every mirage they see hoping for something real; the kind of real that reaches down into the depths of pain and actually takes hold to lift back up.
Moms want the down-in-the-dirty-diapers-with-me kind of real. Wives want the help-me-know-how-to-do-this-wife-thing kind of real.
Singles want the what-do-I -do-with-myself kind of real.
Women young and old who have tasted the bitterness of suffering want gospel-infused, thirst-quenching, meet-me-in-the-ashes kind of real.
We use terms like "Church family" and "family of God" but we don't know the first thing about the people in our so-called family, nor do we care to. We say "I'll be praying for you", but we don't. We ask how someone is but we really don't want to know. We give a well-rehearsed line of blessing before walking away without another thought.
Jesus left heaven to drape Himself in flesh and physically handle hurting people. He didn't just speak or sing to those He was with, He touched them, He wept with them, He ate with them and He laughed with them. When He prayed and when He sang, it was the result of His deep hunger to be near to God and show the heart of His Father to humanity in a way they could grasp, not as a display of eloquence. He never tried to impress. He simply was. He lived with those who needed Him. The world needs that same kind of real; the same kind of real as when Jesus bowed His head and wept for the death of Lazarus and when He knelt in the dirt and defended the woman caught in adultery.
In the depths of any kind of grief or affliction, religious cliche's aren't enough. Spiritual sounding "how to's" aren't enough. Surface Christianity isn't what the blood was spilled for. Calvary washed away the performance-based, pious whitewashing and penetrated the very core of humanity with personal, heaven-down-to-earth, real help! Those who know and love Christ are called to reflect the same practical, vulnerable, realness of Jesus to the world and what a privilege for us to have! Let us not waste our lives living with vague, head-in-the-clouds religiosity, but spend our time on earth loving and serving and praying and walking together the same way the Savior did.
For more on this topic, study:
Ezekiel 13:10; Romans 12:4; Romans 12:9-21;
Romans 12:15; 2 Corinthians 8:8;
James 1:26; James 2:18; 1 Peter 4:8;
1 John 2:6; 1 John 3:18