The job is done

The job’s done Hebrews 10:11-25

 

(drop to break something, like a china cup)  O no, now what?  I’ve brokenbreaking-up mum’s best tea cup!  Have you even done something like that?  If you are like me, a sudden hot flush reveals we are filled with fear and shame, as our body prepares to face the inevitable telling off and punishment for breaking the precious cup.  But then suddenly we say ‘wait a minute.  If I can fix the problem, then everything will be alright…no fear or shame and no facing up to the punishment.’  What would fix this?  Yes…a child’s best friend, Super Glue!

There fixed!  The job’s done…she’s right to go.  I’ve fixed it…she’s as good as gold, better than a new one.’   Well, so we think…until mum fills it full of hot tea and the handle breaks, spilling hot tea all over her and the carpet.  Not a real fix was it?  And even if the repair did hold, the crack can never be hidden.  And along with it, the uncertainty that it will one day break, will always be with us. Super Glue gives us a sense of security, but deep down, we know that the broken cup can never be repaired

All of us are living with past ‘fix its!’  I am talking about the’ fix its’, we have used to repair and cover over the relationships we have broken with our nearest and dearest.  The ‘fix its’ we have used in a vain attempt to avoid facing the truth and shame of what we have done.  The ‘fix its’ we have used to cover up our relationship breakers;  For King David, who had an affair with Bethsheba, a married woman…definitely a relationship breaker, tried a ‘fix it’, commanding this for her husband Uriah ‘Put Uriah in the front line where the fighting is fiercest. Then withdraw from him so he will be struck down and die.” 

Your relationship breakers you have been involved in, may not be as overt, but never the less, just as destructive in breaking up a relationship; ‘an adulterous affair of the heart in thought and word; abusive behaviour; control over a person; anger…blowing up when our opinion is challenged; manipulation to get what we want.  Being dishonest about how we truly feel when we are hurt by others…saying ‘its Ok’…these and many more are the relationship breakers we have all at one point or another been a part of.  

Once we realize, like King David, what we have done has hurt or even broken our relationship with someone dear, rather than face the shame of owning up to the truth about what we have done or said, we apply a ‘fix it’.  We try and repair the relationship without revealing the truth.  Like running to the Super Glue instead of running to mum to confess we broke the cup. 

We run to a lie to cover the relationship breaker, pretend it never happened saying ‘build a bridge and get over it’, or we run to a friend or psychologist or lawyer, who will take our side and say we are not responsible for our actions; its in our genes or our bad childhood caused us to act and say the things we did…now that’s a ‘fix it’…or is it?  Has the breakage really been dealt with, or are we still living in shame and fear and like the repaired cup, we live with uncertainty about whether the repair will last?

Relationship breakers and ‘fix its’ are not a modern phenomenon, in fact, what is the story of the bible?  Isn’t it God’s word to us on a relationship breaker and a ‘fix it?  Is not the bible a revelation about sin and grace; of our sin…the relationship breaker with God, and God’s ‘fix it’ Jesus, his only Son who died on the cross to endure the punishment we couldn’t bear to face?  As Paul writes in 2 Corinthians ‘God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.’  The fear of punishment and shame cause us to run from the truth about ourselves, as we display every day and as Adam and Eve displayed, when they hid from God in the garden, after sinning against him by eating of the forbidden fruit. 

And then once found out, feared God’s punishment so much that they ran to a lie and blamed each other for the sin, as a sort of ‘fix it’, saying “The woman you put here with me– she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”  Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”  Like with the broken cup, what made them run and what makes us run from the truth, is not the concern over the relationship breakage as such, but the fear of being shamed and punished…before God and those we hurt; that’s what makes us run from facing the truth; that’s what drives us to a ‘fix it.’, which is no ‘fix it’ at all, is it…as Adam and Eve found out.

The only way to really fix a broken cup and to have absolute certainty that it won’t re-break, is to throw away the old and replace it with a new one.  This is exactly what God did to us through Christ Jesus in his ’fix it’.  Excuses are not good enough ‘fix it’ for God, who is Holy and Just and must right wrong.  So in compassion for us, he took his anger over our relationship break with him and punished his Son Jesus; had him crucified as a sinner under the curse; he bore our sin, shame and punishment; he took the wrath of God upon himself as a ‘fix it’ once and for all.

Hebrews 10 declares ‘by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.  The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. ‘he says:… “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.” And where these have been forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin.’  In our baptism, is where the ‘fix it’ is applied.  By the water and the word of God, we are absolved, forgiven and made new; totally.  There is no punishment hanging over us.  There is not partial ‘fix it’ that must be finalized by us after death.  There is no extra ‘fix it’ needed which is dependant on our love toward God.  No, as Jesus said from the cross ‘It is finished’.

So what does God’s ‘fix it’ mean for us?  You can stop with the ‘fix its’. You can have the confidence, backed by God himself, to own up to God and each other about our relationship breakers without fearing condemnation from God for what we have done.   As Hebrews says ‘we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place (to speak to God himself) by the blood of Jesus,…so let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith.’ Faith that says ‘If God does not condemn me, who can?’  This is what it means to be a Christian.  Having the certainty that our baptism is the ‘fix it’ from God that can never be broken and gives us the certainty of eternal life with him…the restoration of our original relationship.

If we don’t have to run and hide from God, why should we continue to run and hide from those we have had a relationship breaker.  Why would we want to settle for our ‘fix it’, the anger, lies, the manipulation, which are only cover ups, when we can confess our sin to each other and forgive each other our hurts, just as Christ forgave us.  Or why would we condemn someone who hurt us, if God no longer condemns us? 

Here is a story; a relationship breaker and ‘fix it’ story of sin, guilt, shame, remorse and the love of a Father that over come.  This is your story. You and your Heavenly Father.

In Decision magazine, Mark Strand tells of an experience that occurred following his first year at college.  His dad and mum had left on holidays, and Mark wrecked their ute, crumpling the passenger-side door.  Returning home, he parked the ute.  When his dad returned home and saw the damage, Mark acted surprised and denied any knowledge of the accident.  Mr Strand then asked the hired man about it, and to Mark’s delight, the man admitted he was responsible.   He had heard a loud noise while passing the ute with the spray rig, and now he assumed he had caused the damage.  But the weeks that followed were torturous as Mark struggled with his guilty conscience.  He repeatedly considered telling the truth, but was afraid.  Finally one day he impulsively blurted it out.

‘Dad, there’s something I need to tell you.’

‘Yes?’

‘You know the ute door? I was the one who did it.’

Dad looked at me.  I looked back at him.  For the first time in weeks I was able to look at him in the eyes as the topic was broached.  To my utter disbelief, Dad calmly replied, “I know.”

Silent seconds, which seemed like hours, passed.  Then dad said, “Let’s go eat.”  He put his arm around my shoulder, and we walked to the house, not saying another word about it.  Not then, not ever.’

 

(Mark Stran, ‘I couldn’t forget that door,’ Decision, December 1996, 19.)

Amen.

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