I don’t like being broken. Yet, it is an intricate part of who I am. One that can’t be escaped or covered-up effectively.
I am a farmer’s wife, a writer, an auntie, a… messy broken-up sinner.
Last week I was depressed. It wasn’t the first time. For two days I crumbled beneath it.
Now, I’m good- past it. I’d love to just go on from here without looking back. But, it wouldn’t be real.
I’m a messy broken-up sinner.
People should know this. They should know that I cringe at myself. At my failures. At the times I succumb to temptation. The excuses I make for myself. The lies that I believe and propagate.
It happens. I do it.
And it’s not for pity or a false sense of humility that I write this.
It’s for freedom.
My “word” for this week is atonement.
Last week I was asked the definition and I stumbled. I knew what it meant but I couldn’t seem to explain it properly. “Jesus is… the atoning sacrifice for our sins. He… well, he’s the perfect sacrifice? The ultimate sacrifice? The only worthy sacrifice?”
My mind blanked.
Good grief, you’ve probably looked this up in the Greek before! I know you’ve explained it to fifth graders and five year olds. Why couldn’t I pull a definition out?
Because I am a messy broken-up sinner and God wanted to remind me of something earth-shattering.
A Bible, an interlinear Greek New Testament, a dictionary and the reminder of a promise and the truth that is the very basis of my faith.
One that I needed to study again. To bring back to the front of who I am.
The Day of Atonement is the holiest of the Jewish holidays. It was the only day that the High Priest could enter the Holy of Holies to offer sacrifices for the people.
For the life of the flesh is in the blood and I have given it for you on the altar to atone for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement by the life. – Leviticus 17:11 (ESV)
It is blood that frees us. Every year the Jewish people celebrated a holiday that told the story of Jesus centuries before He walked on earth.
This is the basis of the Christian faith:
Then God… took the dust of the ground and formed a man.
Then he breathed into the man the breath of LIFE.
Do you know what was so special about this man?
He was made in the image of God.
The only thing in all creation.
Because he was made to be God’s friend.
And then after Adam and Eve sinned:
There is a thing you should know about God. He is perfect.
That means he can’t have or be in the presence of sin.
And now both Adam and Eve, who were created to be God’s friends, had sin in their lives. And God couldn’t be with them anymore.
But God still loved them. Oh! did he still love them! So he made a plan.
And he whispered the plan into the pages of the Bible.
He told Adam and Eve that someday one of their children would fight the same snake that tricked them- but when this person does, he will win!
Adam and Eve had to leave the garden of Eden but there was hope.
Someday, somehow, God was going to fix the mess.
Someday they would be free from sin.
And then, once again, they would be friends of God.
What is atonement? There, in the storybook that I wrote for a five-year-old little boy, I explained it. Atonement is reconciliation. The ability to be friends of God.
When we accept God’s “atoning sacrifice” we are allowing God to change us from his enemies, into his friends.
I missed a word in that definition of myself. A very important word. A life-changing word. An earth-shattering word. A word that takes broken, messy things and makes them beautiful:
I’m a redeemed messy, broken-up sinner.
I accepted the atoning sacrifice for my sins. His blood freed me. I am not a slave to my past. I am a friend of God.
You know the thing about being broken? There’s beauty in it. There is God shining out of our broken, busted up pieces.
Painful? Yes. Hard? Yes. Messy? Yes, yes, yes.
It was a reminder of the promise- the one from the very beginning.
Someone was coming.
Someone who would fight the snake and win.
And all that people need to do- is look to him.
They will be healed.
Friendship with God possible.