Posted by: karanoel | March 22, 2011

Initial thoughts on love & dignity

Who redeems your life from the pit and corruption, Who beautifies, dignifies, and crowns you with loving-kindness and tender mercy… Psalm 103:4 amp

I would like to start this post by expressing how I feel today. Joyful. Joyful. Joyful. Purely unadulteratedly joyful. Not because of the immensely expensive car repair I learned of today, but because I have a God who is big enough to cover it. Not because of my inability to behave the way I would like to, but because I have a God who is enough to love me no matter what… a God who can rise up through the ashes of my humanness with a radiant beauty that defies shame. Joyful. Joyful. Joyful.

There have been so many beautiful thoughts floating around in my mind these past few weeks but, like fireflies, they are lovely to observe and difficult to catch.* So I have defaulted to my daily happenings, which are easier to define although – perhaps – less meaningful. But if you will indulge me, I would like to try to nab one of these thoughts dancing around inside and do my best to share it.

A dawning glimpse of love and dignity – just the beginning light when forms are still shadowy – is bringing a hope and softness that couldn’t exist in darkness. I’ve been brought to tears as I see the way these words are intimately connected, like lovers’ bodies in a true embrace.

Love existed in the garden of Eden. Eve was naked and knew no shame. She was uncovered. Pride existed in the concentration camps of Nazi Germany. A woman was forced to remove her clothing and walk past guards in shame. She was exposed. Both were unclothed; one uncovered by love but covered with dignity, one exposed by pride and brought low with shame. But anything stolen, defamed, or destroyed by pride or selfish ambition can be raised up from the ashes in perfect beauty by love. Because love trumps all things.

This kind of beauty isn’t a return to what existed before damage was done, but a restoration of God’s original intent; a return to what was in his heart before time began. No person on this earth is outside of the reach of this great Restoration because it is in no way dependent on who they are or what they have known in this life. It is dependent only on their Creator, and the perfect vision he has retained for each masterpiece. Nothing any man, woman, or child could ever do is capable of changing this vision.

Because of love, there is hope. If your sins have pestered and plagued you to despondency, if your sadness is as deep and consuming as the universe, if you feel shattered in tiny pieces and beyond repair, if you have lived in darkness and done unspeakable things, if you have tried and failed a thousand times over, if you have existed in mediocrity and compromise, or if you simply have not lived the abundant life Jesus paid for…. take heart and be glad. Because no one – no one – is excluded from love. Love never fails. Love cannot fail.

Jesus reached out to touch the unclean, leprous man before he healed him. He could have made him clean, and then touched him. But he laid hold of this man in love and bestowed dignity through his touch, washing away his shame and his disease. He didn’t ask this man to become clean, which would have been pointless or cruel because it was impossible. He didn’t ask the prostitutes to purify their bodies or memories or souls before he would draw near. He crossed the boundaries of their sin with his love, overcoming their filth with his purity and crowning them with dignity. This breaks me. How can a heart stand unchanged before this kind of love?

*I was raised in Southern California. I have no idea if fireflies are hard to catch.


Responses

  1. BEAUTIFUL! His grace is overwhelming! I used to worry all the time that I wasn’t living up to what He has for me, and that maybe I wasn’t even really a Christian because if I were, why would my life look like it did? Why wasn’t I a Mother Teresa or something like that if I truly were following Jesus. Finally one day I heard a voice say to me, “Nanette, all you have to do to be saved is LET me save you.” I have struggled with this kind of stuff all my life, and surrendering to Jesus’ perfect grace and allowing him to cover me is overwhelmingly wonderful! It’s not that I don’t think I was saved before, it’s just the reassurance that His grace is THAT BIG!

    • Oh, Nannette, how very true that His grace is THAT BIG! And how very hard it is for us to receive it without feeling like we need to earn it or pay it back. It really starts making sense why this “gospel” is such heart-wrenchingly beautiful good news.


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