I’ve been worrying for the past several years about the toxins in our environment.
In our food.
In our products.
In our soil.
In our everything.
In our faith.
Toxic beliefs that lead to nothing but fear.
Well, maybe not just fear.
How about being manipulated?
Or maybe controlled?
I could go on.
And then teaching.
Try to be pure.
But you are wretched.
But try anyway.
Submit to your authority.
But they are wretched.
But submit anyway.
Lead your wretched kids.
Tell them to be pure.
Not even a hint of immortality.
But you know they are wretched.
Make your home perfect.
Give your husband everything he needs to be perfect.
Husbands, make sure your wife is behaving.
Even though we all know she is a little wretch.
Watch your thoughts.
Take them all captive.
Every last wretched one of them.
No one is perfect.
No not one.
But strive for it anyway.
No wait… cease striving.
Strive to cease striving.
Discipline your kids.
Spank them for not striving.
Don’t spoil them.
The little wretches need to be taught to stay in line.
Except, they are little wretches.
Make sure we are all ready.
Ready for Jesus to return.
Don’t be caught in sin when he gets back.
But know you are a sinner.
And ask for forgiveness.
And tell God you know how wretched you are.
Strive to be better.
Don’t be anxious.
What is there to be anxious about?
Except that he might return when you are doing a bad thing.
You are hidden in Christ.
Except when you die and are judged in front of God and everyone.
You are loved.
Unless you aren’t chosen.
Then you are not loved.
So strive to let God know you want to be one of the chosen.
Prove to him you area worthy of being chosen.
Except no-one is worthy.
No not one.
And I look around.
And sometimes it seems like the people who aren’t in church understand God’s love way more than the people who are.
These unchurched people seem to actually rest easier.
Love without conditions.
They seem to have way more freedom.
How is it that Christ set us free to be free…
But we are so quick to bind one another right back up?
Lay heavy burdens on others.
And on ourselves.
Believing that fear will motivate.
And controlling others is the only way.
How about Jesus is the only way?
His burden is actually light.
His yoke is easy.
We can actually find rest and freedom in him.
Not in all the rules and the striving.
In him alone.
Do I know what that all looks like?
But I know it isn’t what I’m seeing.
Not in the church.
And not in myself.
How do we do better?
Believing it is finished and accomplished.
Christ is in all and through all.
Look outside of the church.
Jesus is everywhere.
Look in the eyes of your neighbor.
Look in the eyes of your children.
Look in the eyes of your enemy.
You will see Jesus.
Let’s get off the treadmill of trying to be perfect.
Let’s also get off the treadmill of trying to convince everyone they are wretched.
Oh, and the treadmill of telling ourselves how wretched we are.
This treadmill gets us nowhere.
Except maybe a life filled with anxiety.
The very thing Jesus came to save us from.
Oh Lord, help us stop the insanity of striving.
Help us live loved.
Help us tell/show others they are loved.
Karen R Shock resides in Fort Wayne, IN with her husband and their youngest son. She had three more children who are married and four beautiful grandchildren. Oh, and a dog name JT Barrett (Go Bucks). She is a retired homeschool mom and is now a high school teacher and cheer coach. Life is hard, but fun.