In college, my friend and I conducted a fellowship, where I often shared a scenario to explain what it means to run to the Father. Imagine seeing a lecturer in the corridors whose class we bunked or an assignment we failed to submit on time. The automatic response in this scenario is to hide or go the opposite way, thus avoiding confrontation. The same is true when we mess up in churches or at homes. We try to avoid any dialogue about the same. The reason many times is the feeling of guilt and shame that mess brings with it.
When we mess up, our ego tries to protect us by covering the mess through some defence mechanism. These defences are experienced in many ways- some find a scapegoat to blame, some engage in self-pity, some close the mind’s gate to those messes, some try to do many good things, some try to overachieve in other domains, some isolate themselves, or some put on a strong face. The purpose of the ego is to keep us from feeling the hurt associated with the mess. This self-preservation that the ego does is purely the work of the flesh. For instance, when man sinned, they were afraid to face God (Genesis 3.10). The realisation of being naked and the fear to face God led them to accuse one another (Genesis 3.12-13). When we find ourselves in a mess, we try to go away from God or want to keep God away.
I come from a Christian background where I was taught that the Holy Spirit would go away from me if I messed up real bad. If we are all perfect and able, then what is the role of God? If God cannot love me when I am at my worst, what is the purpose of His might and unconditional love? These limits and restrictions to God are man-made. These can also be called religion, where we are constantly striving to please God and stand right before God. But the word says:
Romans 5. 8 TPT- But Christ proved God’s passionate love for us by dying in our place while we were still lost and ungodly!
We assume things about God and His nature that keeps us away from Him. An instance that very nicely explains this is the reaction that Peter has when Jesus is washing the disciples’ feet (John 13. 8). Even though Peter is witnessing Jesus washing the feet of the disciples, he again asks to verify if Jesus is going to wash his feet (John 13.6). And he replies to Jesus, “You shall never wash my feet.” There are times we behave like Peter as if our ugly would make God ugly. Our identity gets shifted from who we are to what we did (or are doing). We can observe the same in the prodigal son’s speech, where everything was around what he did.
Luke 15. 21 NKJV- And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
His analysis of himself was from his actions and behaviour. When we do this, we magnify our mess and make our relational connection with God small. Your mess might be formless and filthy, but when your Father Lord looks at it, he calls out the light. Inviting Christ into your ugly doesn’t require a well-framed prayer, a pilgrimage or fasting. We engage in all these so that we feel connected to God. We need a heart that believes in Christ and His goodness even when we are feeling terrible.
A heart that yearns to see Christ, like Zaccheus (Luke 19. 2-3).
A heart that believes like the woman with the issue of bleeding, “If I could touch even his clothes, I know I will be healed.” (Mark 5. 25-28).
A heart that breaks down before the Lord like Mary and Martha, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” (John 11. 21, 32).
A heart that seeks God and says, “If you were willing, you could completely heal me.” (Luke 5. 12).
In other words, we require a heart ready to believe in the Father Lord to whom we are always the beloved children. Know that His heart is to serve us (Matthew 20. 28). He is neither tossed nor taken aback by our questions, worries, circumstances or addictions. He doesn’t become less holy when we pour out our beings to him. When we let God in on our mess, we are allowing Him to influence and change us.
Therefore, even when we do not understand why certain things happened a certain way, or why we did what we did, let us run to the God who is our Father and say like Peter:
John 13. 8, 9a (NKJV)- Peter said to Him, “You shall never wash my feet!” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.” Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head!”