It really hurt my heart. I had just asked her to come to church with me when she shifted uncomfortably and said, “I’d like to, I’d really like to, but I need to get my life straightened out first.” Ouch. I tried hard to encourage her, but she still wouldn’t come.
Please hear me, it doesn’t matter how messed up your life is, God still wants you! The bible is full of stories about hustlers, murderers, prostitutes, cowards, adulterers and mercenaries that God changed and used for His glory. King David broke a big portion of the ten commandments in about two chapters, and yet he’s still called a man after God’s own heart. There was Moses the coward and murderer, Noah the drunkard, Abraham the liar, Jacob the cheater, Paul the religious terrorist and plenty of others. When Jesus picked his 12 apostles he simply told them, “Come follow me,” not “Clean up your lives and when you have, come see me and I’ll let you know if you are in or not.”
I’m not sure where she learned it, but it broke my heart for her to feel like she had to have her life cleaned up, straightened up or fixed up before she could come to church or come to God. If you are one of those who think you need to get your life fixed before coming to God, don’t believe the Devil’s lie. Come to the Father just as you are. Don’t wait until you feel good enough, because you never will (at least I never have).
Hopefully we haven’t portrayed the church as a place you go once you have your life all fix up and going well. Instead, much like a hospital, the church is full of sick people, not people that are physically sick, but spiritually sick. We’ve come to Him because we need help, hope and forgiveness, not because our lives are straightened out. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a sinner. I screw up royally on a regular basis. If you don’t believe that … ask my wife (smile), she knows me well.
If you are in need of your Heavenly Father, don’t try to clean up your own life first. Let Him do it (Titus 3:5). When the prodigal son came home to his father, don’t you know he was dirty, nasty and stunk from feeding pigs. And what did the father say when he saw the boy in all his filthiness? “You stink! Clean up first and then come tell me why you’ve come home?” Nope, instead he wrapped his arms around his dirty son’s neck, squeezed hard and with tears in his eyes said, “Welcome home Son.”
It doesn’t matter what you’ve done or what you’ve become, you can always come home to the Father. Just like you are.