Damaged Goods

It’s easy to point fingers at others, to find the faults. It’s easy to think of sins greater than yours and use them as examples of how it could be worse.

Conversely…

It’s easy to assuage your sinful nature with guilt. It’s easy to feel bad about the things we’ve done wrong.

And yet… are we being honest? Are we honestly appraising our base nature? Do we carefully consider the mirror of our soul and take stock of what we find there? When we feel pain, guilt, agonize over our sins, our actions, is it true shame or what we are told to do? Is it true repentance or a holding back of the tiniest part of darkness that we may “Oops, sinned again!”. Even in this… is what we feel guilt over truly sin, or something bound by man and shackled onto us?

Confused yet? Join the club.

Honest appraisal of what is good, what is right… it gets clouded by the wisdom of men, not God. Guilt upon guilt is laid upon us until we are broken.

But were we ever whole?

In the dark of night, do you feel it? Do you feel the clawing at your soul? In those moments of frightening lucidity do you find yourself staring into the mirror of your insides and discover it black and rotten? Do you weep over your inability to lead even a single day sinless?

The rake of our guilt flays our flesh like the scourge of the blackest taskmaster. It rides us relentlessly, chasing, never ceasing, waiting always for that one moment that we stop and consider our true worth before the almighty. Hell, it’s GOD versus a very small man… we aren’t even the shadow off a fleas ass in such light. The rules are there, plain to see, and I’m not talking the shackles that the Christianese preachers place on you as well. Real simple stuff, but you blow it, I blow it, we all screw up royally to the point where we are left to face that black hole inside and cry our despair at ever being whole.

We are damaged goods. Rejects. Broken, dispirited, unholy, evil, disgusting, perverse, thoughtless, shameful beings.

And broken, in that black place, consumed by the darkness within, we lay. We breathe fetid breath after breath of the reek of hell. We are imprisoned by our sinfulness, wretchedly enduring the light that seeks out the darkness. Of course we fear that light! Of course! We are unclean things! It is only proper we should fear it and scurry away! And we remain, hopping from darkness to darkness, hoping the light won’t find us, expose to us what we are for ultimate rebuke. Condemnation. Judgement.

Most Christianese would sum this accurately, and nod their heads in sober agreement, thinking that they must pray harder, longer, and give more! That yes, indeed we are the worthless castoffs of hellflesh, only saved from utter damnation because we believe in the right thing, in the right way.

But we remain broken, dishevelled. We are confused, there is no direction. There is no “easy way”. Christianese is jibberish to us, meaningless. It clashes with reason, makes us doubt ourselves even more, and in doubting, drives us further into the darkness that traps us. After all, if we cannot believe as the saved, if it makes no sense to us, if we are so damaged that we cannot even understand the simplest points of our clean and wholesome faith, then we must be especially deserving of rejection and damnation. It makes no sense, but it is told to us that it is right so often and so forcefully, and our souls are in the balance against that confidence, that there is no escape. Abandon reason, or abandon your soul itself.

And suddenly, right before our eyes, the flashlight that seeks out our dark hiding places is no longer in the hands of God, but of men in nice suits. We surrender our claim to belief to those who would deny it.

The light sweeps, the roaches scurry, afraid… but it hits you eventually… a shock. You see yourself, exposed, naked before God… caught in your debased life and nowhere to run but to confront your sin. The Christianese God is about to smite… to stomp this pissant roach with his size G’s. You huddle, afraid of the wrath of your creator. Afraid of what will happen next. And nothing does.

Nothing happens.

Your eyes adjust, you dare look to the light. God isn’t Christianese… his light isn’t searching things to smash. It searches for his lost children, who were so afraid of his light because of the Bible thumpers and fire-and-brimstone shouters that they fled into the dark, their only refuge. It is for him to find them, love them, to heal them of the hurts accrued by blindly stumbling in the dark.

We are the prodigal children. Our inheritance is had, and being squandered. But God is there with open arms, we only need return to him. He knows the pain and filth of humanity. God became damaged goods in the form of Jesus. He became the creature of doubt, of temptation, of flesh. He did, that he might know how deep our darkness lies within our frail bodies. He found the measure, and understands our weakness.

God created us. We are his beloved children. That we stray and come back is known, it is expected. Love does not mean we have to condone, but it still means love.

We are damaged goods, yes. But we’re still loved regardless, and we are capable of love. We don’t have to live in the darkness. We can be in the light. Maybe not Christianese light, but Xtian light. Our hearts are what counts… our love for God and our attempts to love our neighbors and do the best we can by them. If we do this, God will do unto us… love us, salve our wounds, forgive our faults. We can debate endlessly the rules, but in the end, it is love that saves us. Our love for God and his creation and his sacrifice, and our love for each other, and his love for us, damaged goods we may be.

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