And I don't say that lightly or flippantly... I say with earnest tears...please forgive me!
It took me way too long to realize my mistakes..... especially my apathy and casualness in presenting any human being the true source of hope and meaning.
I regret that I fell in love with an idea and I tried to sell you an idea in the same way we sell cars and dryers.....
I suffer much heartache when I think of how I wanted to excel in intellect, but did so little in kind acts and overflowing mercy....
I killed way too many people with the truth- I was so right.. I was dead right... and I was the epitome of the 'noisy gong' in I Corinthians 13.
When it was my time to defend the truth- I buried it like the unrighteous steward... I legalized it like the whitewashed Pharisees, I cowered from it like the faithless disciples on the night of Jesus's arrest.
I shot down too many for not dotting an I or crossing a T..... instead of listening to them..I drowned out wounded spirits in condemning regulations like 'do not handle' and 'do not touch'.
Forgive me for thinking that my clever slogans for speaking the gospel seemed hollow because I displayed it too little.
I lifted my hands in praise for my winning football teams, I jumped and danced to my favorite bands in concert... and slept in way too many Sundays with the excuse that I am not a legalist.
And so I do not blame you if you are confused about truth... angry about injustice... disillusioned with the church... apathetic toward the Word.
I thought I could excite you with a gospel of clever words.... but in reality a Christless gospel is no gospel at all.
And I could walk away...sing Amazing Grace and shrug my shoulders and say "Oh well, the end is nigh"- "I've had my time in the sun.... I'm ready for you to come back, Jesus, and leave these Screen Junkies to find hope in the dust".
But forgiveness works two major miracles-
One- I stand before you completely justified in the blood of jesus Christ... my sin has been cancelled and I am an adopted son of the King of Kings. This is not fair by the way... it is grace!
It's never too late to try again..... in fact love COMPELS me to not give up on you!
So let me do it much better....
Fall in LOVE with Jesus.... in SPITE of His failing followers like me... Here is how He puts it:
You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life. (John 5:39-40 ESV)
Be Kind to Sinners- they NEED Jesus...not your fancy life opinion soliloquies....
And don't be angry when God tells you the truth...He is not robbing you of autonomy or fun... He is SAVING you from the regret of all the ashes and dust of empty promises in the sin cursed world.
Finally, Search HIM out.... and you will find a life sustaining reason for following Him...
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (1 Peter 1:3-5 ESV)
Don't follow Him because it works....because often it looks broken and mysterious... cast your very soul on Him simply because HE IS TRUE!
And watch me... a 51 year old full of mistakes and regrets... but still young at heart and committing another day to slay dragons and swim in streams of living water....
Not because I am good...oh no no no... that I HAVE learned....
It is because HE IS GOD!