And Thomas said, “I won’t believe it unless I see the nail wounds in his hands, put my fingers into them, and place my hand into the wound in his side.” (Jn 20:25)
All of us have scars. Scars of rejection, betrayal and hurt. I hear horrible stories of abuse. Emotional abuse, sexual abuse, physical abuse. Abuse from church leaders, abuse from parents, abuse from bullies, abuse from children. Condescending bosses with sharp tongues, classmates with bullying issues…the list goes on and on. And all of them leave
Mostly we go to great lengths to hide our scars. Someone with a scar from a stabbing, may always were clothing to cover the scar that brings back frightening memories. Everyone has moments in their past where due to ignorance, or bad timing, we brought shame upon ourselves or our families. We try to distance ourselves from these occurrences as quickly as possible. We typically don’t want anyone to see our
The events in John 20 are historically the basis for the “Doubting Thomas” phrase. However, I wonder if we’re overlooking a subtle truth that’s somewhat hidden, that may be hindering many of us from being powerfully used in God’s kingdom! Thomas essentially asked Jesus if he could see his scars… The nerve!
I don’t want to show anyone my scars! I’m ashamed of my scars! I wear long sleeves to cover them up!
Jesus was not ashamed of his scars.
A scar is a sign of healing! Without healing, there is no scar! Could we be withholding a major truth when we choose to close off that “private/painful” part of our lives? Listen for the powerful truth…. When Jesus became vulnerable, and produced His scars…
Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe. (Jn 20:27)
When Jesus invited Thomas to “see” His scars…..THOMAS RECEIVED A REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST!
When I shield my scars (failures, pain, etc) from those around me, my unwillingness to become vulnerable with them, may be the biggest roadblock to them receiving a revelation of Jesus. God’s people must begin to see the pain of the past as a possible springboard for others to catch a glimpse of the resurrected Savior!
I want to quickly add that while we are in the middle of the pain (before the healing), we are not in position to speak about it in a helpful way. Many have tried, and many have come across sounding like they are whining or complaining. We shall not speak from the position of a wound, but rather, after the resurrection, from the position of a
Never underestimate the power of a post-resurrection scar (testimony of a healing)
NO YOU’RE NOT! Now that that’s out of the way, I’d like to share a genuine concern that I have for the Body of Christ.
The apostle Paul says in Philippians 3:3 (NLT) “We put no confidence in human effort, 4 though I could have confidence in my own effort if anyone could. Indeed, if others have reason for confidence in their own efforts, I have even more!”
My concern stems from the myriad of programs that believers are flocking to in order to have someone else help them feel better about themselves.
Even Jesus, in the sermon on the mount, said: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for they shall see God” These misguided programs are teaching people to “Believe in the good that is within them in order to accomplish anything”. I believe that the Creator abhors this humanistic reasoning. Once when Jesus was called, “Good”, he retorted with, “Why do you call me good?” Jesus asked. “Only God is truly good.” (Mark 10:18)
My friends, if Jesus, the only begotten Son of God, dispells the idea that He is “Good”, then where does that leave us? How can we, the Body of Christ sit spellbound under the teaching, and coaching of those who would have us believe in our own goodness?
Continuing in Philippians 3…Now verse 5 I was circumcised when I was eight days old. I am a pure-blooded citizen of Israel and a member of the tribe of Benjamin—a real Hebrew if there ever was one! I was a member of the Pharisees, who demand the strictest obedience to the Jewish law. 6 I was so zealous that I harshly persecuted the church. And as for righteousness, I obeyed the law without fault.
If anyone could have had a “You’re Great” title it was Paul…. He was after all, “without fault”! Yet he goes on to say…7 I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done.
Here’s the danger that I see, and hence my concern….. If we start believing this humanistic stuff, and use it as an opportunity to focus on our confidence in our own ability to “Get it done”, we will lose sight of “What Christ has done” (v.7)
I believe that these programs, systems, seminars, coaching sessions……. Call them what you will, are nothing short of HUMANISM cloaked in a Suit & Tie Success Coach!
There’s a warning in Romans 1:25…Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
We’re spending too much time trying to see what “we” can do, how successful “we” can be, how many ladders “we” can climb, how strongly “we” can believe in how great “we” are, and how good “we” can feel about ourselves!
Finally, to the church, I believe that our HEAD would say to us, “Focus on what I have done for you, and don’t lose sight of that!”
We’re spending too much time trying to see what we can do, how successful we can be, how many ladders we can climb, how strongly we can believe in how great we are, and how good we can feel about ourselves!
Oh God, restore the beauty of humility!
God’s best to you! EM
It is my opinion that there are few places where we exhibit more skepticism than at a used car dealer. Mostly it has to do with their reputation, not necessarily due to some bad experiences that we have had. They have a reputation of not delivering the goods as promised. The stories are well documented, from the Andy Griffith television program to every backyard conversation, stories that confirm our worst fears about these modern-day snake oil salesmen. Looking back on my short stint in this business of ill repute, I’m not arguing!
As long as there have been humans, there has been deceit.
Deceit: “concealment or distortion of the truth for the purpose of misleading” (Dictionary.com)
Shall we be transparent for just a bit (O horrors)…. From the plastic putty that is used to fill the dent in your car’s fender, so that after it’s painted it will “appear” as though it is undamaged, to the myriad shades of make up in so many powder rooms, purported to reduce the “appearance” of aging! According to Genesis, our earliest ancestors clung to fig leaves so they would not “appear” to be naked.
Surely this societal ill would not be found in the circle of religious activity!!! My opinion is that following very closely behind the reputation of the Used Car Dealer, is a place where unfortunately the reputation is only slightly improved, the Church Building! Countless times while sharing the salvation message we have heard, “the Church is filled with hypocrites”. While I don’t necessarily concur with this sentiment, I must own the fact that there is a measure of truth in this. A real danger is that, in many cases, “Christianity” has become an art form that could otherwise be called “Modified Behavior”. All that one has to do is look around, and see how “other believers” are doing it, and then mimic their behavior! Many new believers have started out with so much promise only to discover that others around them were merely manufacturing their “new life”.
During His earthly ministry, Jesus communicated grace to the sinner, while shouting charges of condemnation to the religious leaders of that day (Matthew 23). While warning His New Testament hearers, “But I warn you—unless your righteousness is better than the righteousness of the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven! (Matthew 5:20)
If I could break this verse down into 21st century language it would sound something like this, “Modified Behavior for the purpose of appearing religious will not translate into an entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven!
It has become status quo for believers to cop-out by bringing their friends to a building where “the Pastor” can help them, “the Pastor” can pray for them, “the Pastor” can teach them…. “the Pastor can……” etc. This is no disservice to the office of the Pastor, but rather a call for each one of us to live out the mandate from Jesus, “GO….and make disciples”
My cry to the saints is….Remember, the Church is not a building!
The Church is….. YOU, WHEREVER YOU ARE!