“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 3:23-24, NKJV).
I have some really “flawed” friends; but that’s what I like about them. You see, honesty, is a lost virtue in the world today, and unfortunately, it’s disappearing at an alarming rate in the church too.
When you ask others how they are doing, they are quick to reply, “Great.” The one that really grates on me is, “I’m blessed.” Honestly, no one is “great’ or feels “blessed” all the time. The truth is we are flawed. We have DNA corrupted by Adam’s fall and we demonstrate that by the way we behave and the things we say. And, most of us are hurting inside, for whatever the reason. It’s part of the human condition.
If we are willing to be honest, there are a number of reasons why. We may have a medical condition that causes us to feel depressed. That’s the case with me. I am being treated for Neurocardio Syncope, as well as peripheral neuropathy, both of which are a medical condition that causes depression (although, they really don’t know what is wrong with me). You can look up all the details – both are pretty nasty.
Also, another reason why we are hurting is spiritual. Either we are separated from God because of sin or we are Christians, but are not in fellowship (disobedience), or we are in a dry place (what is referred to as a dessert experience. Funny they should call it that, because after dinner I like dessert, but I sure don’t like being in the dessert; but, I digress).
That’s where my “flawed” friends come in. I’ll ask them how they are doing and they’ll often replied, “struggling” or “having a tough day” or something else honest. And I’ll identify.
When you are hurting it often seems like you are the only one. It’s easy to feel alone, distant, disconnected from others. But honest “flawed” friends are a joy (ironic, isn’t it?). They make you feel better.
Now, don’t misunderstand me; I’m not suggesting that it’s a joy they suffer; but what I am saying is that there is fellowship in suffering. Think I’m wrong? Well, here’s what Paul wrote to the church at Philippi:
“that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.” (Philippians 3:10, NKJV).
Paul was on easy street, until he became a Christian. He was respected, a member of the Jewish Religious Council (Sanhedrin), and had an education that surpassed most of his day. But when he gave his life to Jesus, he was afflicted with a physical illness that we’re not certain of (perhaps his eyes, Galatians 4:15). He lost the respect of his peers, was excommunicated (cast out of Jewish life as one who had died without respect or honor), and even hunted (Acts 9:25, II Corinthians 11:33). He was beaten, stoned, and even thrown into prison, all because he turned his back on the world to follow Jesus Christ.
And Paul was even “flawed”:
“This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.” (I Timothy 1:15, NKJV).
Well, if Paul was the chief, then I’m one of the Indians. I would of liked to hang out with Paul. He was honest and genuine, like my “flawed” friends.
What I like best about my “flawed” friends is, they like hanging out with this “flawed” individual. But what I really get stoked about is that Jesus loves this “flawed” individual and declares me “righteous” by faith alone through grace alone.
And that makes me feel…better.