Today I am watching my two grandchildren. One is 21 months old and the other still a newborn. After playing in the backyard for an hour, we came in for a snack and nap time. While warming the baby’s bottle, I opened up an applesauce, sat the older at the table and proceeded to feed her the applesauce. Well, silly me had forgotten how quickly toddlers learn to say, “I do it myself.” After a little bit of a battle, I gave in. (I know....I’ll plan better next time.) The bottle was ready and the baby needed my attention. Now the big girl did pretty well managing the spoon and the applesauce until the spoon decided not to cooperate any longer. It did not take long for her to be covered in applesauce.....head to toe.
As I looked at her from across the table, it quickly reminded me how easily we make a mess of our lives when we stomp our feet and tell God, “I do it myself.” Its true, I speak from experience. I tried “I do it myself” and ended up in a mess from head to toe. Fortunately, God specializes in messes.
Look with me at the verses found in John 8:1-12. “but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.””
Such an intriguing story, don’t you think? The woman, caught in the act. I often wonder, if in their zeal to humiliate her, they drug her to the temple naked. Wouldn’t surprise me. Religious people often show little or no mercy. Jesus bent down and wrote in the sand. I wonder if the woman was sobbing her heart out as she stood there in shame. Of course, we are not told what he writes but I think it could have been something like “watch this.” Then Jesus stands and faces the accusers. Without missing a beat, he gets to the heart of the matter. Religious people don’t like heart issues. They often have a nest of them....just like the rest of us. But Jesus gets to the heart of the matter: sin. He calls them out and one by one those religious and judgmental leaders slink away. Jesus bends down a second time to write in the sand. Again, we are not told what he writes. But I think he wrote, “Trust me. I specialize in messes.” He doesn’t shame her, he doesn’t condemn her. He simply cleaned her up and sent her on her way.
What kind of mess do you find yourself in? It might be little, it might be big. Either way, if you stomped your foot and said, “I do it myself” then you have a mess only God can fix. Trust him, he specializes in messes.
Maybe you are like one of those religious type...lacking mercy and grace. Then you have a mess you don’t even realize. I would urge you to trust Jesus, he specializes in messes.
All of us need Jesus. All of us. If you are far from him today, turn your heart to Jesus. He specializes in messes.