A few years ago my husband was strolling with a friend at Caesar’s Palace. While they walked under the painted skies chatting, something crazy happened out of nowhere. Mid-sentence, mid-word, our friend threw up. Barfed. Upchucked. Right there on the floor of the Forum Shops.
In shock at what had just happened, they kept on walking. What?! They didn’t stop? They didn’t call for a clean up on aisle 3? Nope. They kept walking.
Worried that he was now escorting a ticking time bomb, my husband decided they should turn around and head straight to the bathroom. As they did a U-turn, and started back toward the scene of the crime, a poor unsuspecting lady walked right into the middle of that mess. And before they could shout out a warning, both feet flew up and she landed flat on her booty. She lifted up her hands and asked her two friends, “What is this?”
Um. Ma’am. That was Mexican food for lunch. So sorry. Ewww. Just as gross as you think.
Isn’t that just like life? People are casually walking along when suddenly they find themselves both feet up and flat on their backsides in a mess. Maybe they created that mess themselves. Or maybe that walked straight into a mess caused by a spouse, a friend, a child, or family member.
As my husband says: Ministry is messy because sin is messy. Get over it. Grab a mop. And start helping clean up.
People are broken. Their lives are a mess. Maybe they’ve fought hard to stay sober, but have fallen off the wagon. Maybe they’re drowning in debt. Maybe self-hatred or depression has them tied up.
It doesn’t do much good to stop, point, and say: Hey you. You’re in a complete mess. You need to help yourself. It is frustrating and time consuming and flat out exhausting to help you out of your mess … again.
Nope. We reach down into the mess. Grab hold of their arms and help lift them up. Over. And over. And over again.
Why? Because I’m broken too. And I’ve been sprawled out in a mess. And I know that Jesus has used people to love me and lift me out of my mess. If I hadn’t had those people, I might be in that big-fat mess still.
So, how do we love the broken? It doesn’t have to be perfect. And it doesn’t have to be pretty. We just have to be willing. Willing to reach down into the messiness of life and help people put their feet on The Solid Rock again.
Ministry is messy because sin is messy. Let’s get over it, grab those mops, and start helping people clean up.