I do not care one whit about ruining my so-called reputation. That is because the secret desire of my heart is to end my life having acquired quite a scandalous reputation. A reputation much like the disciples had, a reputation that reflects the Divine scandal of the cross.
Did you know love is quite scandalous? It is. Scandalous means, “causing general public outrage by a perceived offense against morality or law.” Jesus Christ was nailed to a cross, naked, despising the shame, and slowly tortured to death. His love for us caused “general public outrage” and ended in His death and execution.
Our own love had better learn to do the same.
Recently a couple of people on the internet accused me of protecting my reputation, or implied I have a dual reputation, or some such thing. I believe it was actually Rollo Tomassi of the Rational Male himself who once sputtered on this very blog, “everybody is going to find out what you’re like!”
The meaning behind these little digs is the implied threat that I am hiding something they can now expose, that I am not the prim and proper Christian lady I pretend to be.
Wait? Wut? Prim? Proper? Bahahahaha……..
I have never sold myself as any such thing. In truth, I have a powerful dislike of “keeping up appearances.” I have actually been deeply hurt by those who had such a superficial faith they believed what is important is what shows on the outside, rather than what shines on the inside.
We must give the appearance of having it all together. We must not give the appearance of being sinners or of associating with such people. We must drape a clean paper towel over our spiritual messes so they may fester and rot sight unseen, until the stench begins to permeate the whole room, the flies gather, and we all pretend not to see, holding the whole decaying mass together with our frigid smiles….
And we can never praise the Lord for anything because we’ve never let the Lord near anything.
I am actually a bit of a paradox, the secret desire of my heart truly is to be bold, to be scandalous, to be led by the Holy Spirit, to break out in roaring rendition of Amazing Grace right in the middle of the produce section of the grocery store and yet I really cannot sing, so such a thing would be humiliating. Embarrassing, sure to cause a scene. People have laid down their very lives for their faith, are doing so as we speak, and yet I sometimes fear a wee bit of embarrassment and sacrificed pride in the produce section of the grocery store. Tragic.
On the other hand, I have actually stood on top a chair in the emergency room and started preaching like the prophets of old…..
Think about what an idol “reputation” and “keeping up appearances” has become in the Western world. Lord, I love you, I’ll do anything for you……just so long as it doesn’t cause me any emotional discomfort or make me look weird in front of the neighbors. And people are driven way from faith too, people who can spot the hypocrisy immediately, people who are starved for authenticity but too jaded and cynical to even believe it when they see it.
Yesterday I went to a parade. As is usual around these parts, the only representative of Jesus Christ many people see is going to be a hater and an extremist. Sure enough one came along right on schedule yelling about hell and how we’re all whores, adulterers, and fornicators.
Those are the two faces representing Jesus Christ that people see most often, the wrathful guy obsessed with sexual perversion, and the proper lady obsessed with keeping up appearances.
What they rarely see is the grace of Jesus Christ reflected in us as people.
Matthew 26:13 speaks of the woman with the perfume and declares, “Truly I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be spoken of in memory of her.”
She is the very analogy of what grace looks like in a person, “Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.”
Be a hot mess on fire for the Lord, because love really is scandalous and what most people in the world need is not to be more forgiving, but to be more forgiven. Grace changes hearts. It’s the only thing that ever has.