There are people who truly believe that they can’t go to God as they are but that they have to “clean themselves up” first. I don’t know the population of those people, whether there are ten million or ten of them but I still feel like it’s important to say this no matter how many believe it. So, I want you to know, you do not have to clean yourself up or try to look perfect/ be perfect before you go to God. So profound, not really, because you’ve probably heard this a million times, from other pastors, or friends, or parents. However a good portion of you probably didn’t believe them, there might have been something sticking in your mind about you having to measure up to some standard but I promise you, you don’t.
When Jesus began his ministry, he didn’t look for the people who were perfect or looked perfect. Instead he chose both the people who weren’t and looked far from it. He cared for prostitutes, sinners, and tax collectors, people who the religious leaders would never have been seen with. Luckily for us though, while random people in our church would prefer for us to clean ourselves up and look like them before we stepped into church, God, like Jesus, welcomes us from the beginning, as we are, with open arms. Jesus said on many occasions that he came for the broken, the sick, and the sinners because it’s not the healthy who need a Doctor and if we really think about this statement for a moment, it answers everything. We don’t have to fix our broken bones before we go to the Doctor, that’s what the Doctor is for and in the same way God is our Doctor who is more than pleased to welcome us into his office and heal us. He see’s our pain and discomfort and longs for us to turn to him because in truth we can’t heal ourselves, we don’t have the x-ray equipment, or the materials for a cast, and we don’t have the years of experience that will help to heal this broken bone so that there isn’t even a scar. God does. He knows how to heal us and make us feel even better than we did before, so we can just go to him. Think about it, was there ever a time a person asked Jesus for healing and Jesus said heal yourself and then come to me. No.
It’s so interesting how back then and even now the idea of having to fix ourselves has stuck around but I think it’s because the role of religious leaders has changed into the general public. They’ve become normal people in our daily lives who will try to look at us and tell us that we’re not ready to come before God yet. However whether it’s back in the bible times or in present day the religious leaders were wrong about what God desired. God’s arms aren’t closed because you messed up, he’s simply waiting for us to come to him and when we do, when we turn from whatever it is that’s keeping us from him that is a single act that releases every chain that tries to hold us. Just like the tax collector who climbed a tree to get closer to Jesus, Jesus drew closer to him, spoke to him, and ate with him, showed him love and he was so changed that he gave away his money. Just like the disciples who were going about their normal lives when Jesus came and by saying yes, and walking in obedience with him, their lives changed and they walked out a call on their lives greater than anything they could have planned for themselves. Just like the cripple who came to Jesus for healing and got healed, then Jesus said go and sin no more. Just like the adulterous woman who although she didn’t come to him, she was brought to him and she found a savior in him. He saved her life and then told her to sin no more. Our sin is only a second thought to God, his first thought is us.
What I learn from these stories is that God wants to heal and make our lives better right now, regardless of what we did yesterday. We can go to him like a Doctor and we can seek him out and he will help us. Our sins don’t stop him from reaching us, the only thing keeping us from God is us. So, to all the people who are sick, hurt, or broken, please go to the Doctor, he knows how to help.