This world is a mess.
News outlets, social media, and everything else is focused in on just how messy it is. For the last week, the story has shifted from the never-boring U.S. Presidential race, to issues of race, justice, and side choosing. Many people are throwing stones (mostly figuratively) or shouting into the abyss of public opinion on these matters. I have thought plenty about these matters over the last week, and I have had conversations with people on these happenings, but I do not write today to choose a side, or to persuade people of one thing or another.
What I have realized over the past week is that this world is a mess. That couldn’t be more clear to me. What has hit me even harder however is the realization that
I am a mess.
Yes, I, Michael David Clinger, come before all who will read this today (so at least my mom…probably) and acknowledge that I am a screwed up human being. I am sure there are people that know me who would read this and agree, but truthfully, I doubt those people read my blog. Here I am, a 22-year-old former Sunday School all-star and Christian University Alum, and I want to be clear: My life has sin in it. And yes, I do believe that I have been crucified with Christ, so I no longer live, but Christ lives in me, but the harsh reality of sin is that it does not discriminate.
Some of you might know this, but in Matthew 5-7 Jesus preaches this thing that we now call the Sermon on the Mount. At the beginning of chapter 7, Jesus says this:
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
SO, in this story, I identify with the hypocrite. That’s the guy walking around with the plank in his own eye. There have been times in my life when I would have called for other people to stop being so dang hypocritical all the time, but looking back on that, I was doing the same thing.
See, I don’t want to deal with the plank or planks in my own eye. It is a lot easier to point my finger at someone else and tell them to get their life together than it is for me to start the long journey of plank removal. My plank is my plank; it is no one else’s. It may be larger or smaller, shaped differently, and altering my view in different ways than others, so how could I throw stones at anyone else for having a different plank than I have?
Today it is easy to jump on the internet and rip off some wordy something-or-other about how certain people are wrong, but I must first confront my own wrongness. In order to see clearly the terribleness of the world, I must first identify the terrible in my own heart. It is in those moments when I come into the presence of the Almighty God who does no wrong. I am amazed at the ways in which God’s righteousness mends the brokenness of life. God takes our planks and makes bridges. He uses the ways in which we struggle to bring good into a world lacking in goodness.
Within each of us lies the ability…
to love and to hate, to mend and to break, to bless and to curse, to live and to die.