Jesus Isn’t Crying About That
Ever hear this? “Your reckless lifestyle and sinful ways are breaking Jesus’s heart! You’re bringing tears to his eyes.” I imagine so. Sometimes it’s said in an accusational tone, dramatically pointing a finger, even. It brings Dana Carvey’s 1980s caricature of The Church Lady to mind.
However, more often than not it’s subtle.
Perhaps it’s visiting your friend’s Facebook page to view pictures. You see him sloshed at the bar, a different girl on his arm with each click. Clean your life up, you say to one image. Do it for God, he loves you so much! you say to another. You bury your head in your pillow and say a prayer. “Lord, help him love you as you love him!” you say, sobbing.
God knows you’ve been trying to help. You worked up the courage to ask the last time you saw him if he thinks he’s been going to the bar too much. “I’ll stop going when they stop serving Jack and Coke,” he answered with a sneer and a laugh. Then he passed out on his couch, using a PBR box as his pillow.
But I digress.
The Burden of a Big Heart
Why are you so involved? Because you care. Deeply. So much more than others. Certainly more than those wishy washy Christians who are willing to let everyone burn in hell. They aren’t working for God as he has asked of us. Why did God have to give you such a caring heart?
Your pastor has asked you to share the gospel of Jesus and this back-and-forth comes to mind. You feel comforted because you’re doing your part. Jesus said we’ll be persecuted for our faith, you think to yourself.
The Church Lady comforts a lot of us because we aren’t being like that. But deep down, aren’t we? Perhaps we are better at bridling our tongues, but what about our thoughts? Jesus in Matthew 9 drilled his disciples. “But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts?” So if we do this, even subtly, then we are not innocent, and in fact, we may be worse than The Church Lady caricature, because at least she had the audacity to be honest with herself.
And we really must be honest with ourselves, because the perspective that Jesus is crying about our sins has the appearance of something true, however it is entirely false.
Don’t Remove The Veil’s Purpose
Before God sent Jesus to die for our sins, things were different. The Israelites were constantly a dissappointment, knowing what God told them to do and just not doing it. And every so often God “had it up to here” and put his foot down, letting them eat their own medicine. Like when those football broadcasts let you in on footage of the coach blasting his team in the locker room during halftime for a miserable first half. So, yes, if we were back in that day in age, I would better understand each of us monitoring one another and warning that our sins would tick off the coach.
But after Jesus everything changed. When we hold onto the rules then we’re taking the purpose out of the blood that poured from his brow on the cross and the purpose from his dying breath. If we are still brow-beating rule-following into people in order to be closer to God, then the veil need not to be torn in two. The veil separated us from God, only allowing the high priest behind it once a year. But when Jesus died it was gloriously ripped in half.
Jesus died so that the pain of those sins wouldn’t remain. But we are memorializing them, and in doing so we are stitching back together that veil and trying to hold it up. “If you want Jesus’s love you’d better follow the rules!” We say.
And that makes Jesus cry.
Now, I say this with a large caveat. To quote Paul in Romans 6, “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means!” So we need to live as clean of lives as we can, but that comes with an acceptance that we will mess up, and that’s where God’s grace comes in, and THAT is the beauty of the gospel.