“I Dare You To Trust That I love You: An Inspiring Word From Brennan Manning

Brennan-Manning

I’m not an avid movie watcher. I’m the guy who hasn’t seen most of the classics that everyone and their mother have seen! But last night I watched a movie that changed my life. The movie is called Ragamuffin, and it’s based on the true story of Rich Mullins’ life. Rich Mullins was a Christian Singer/Songwriter who was known for his honest and authentic lyrics. He wrote songs that were vulnerable, messy, and real. He is probably best known for his song, “Awesome God.” Remember that song? You probably sang it in church in the late 90’s. In the movie, Rich had a terrible relationship with his father, and because of that relationship, he struggled to find God. His record company wanted him to produce songs that people liked, dress the way people liked, and do concerts in a way that people like. After hitting it big, Rich discovered that he was still lonely, still miserable, still missing something. And after another night of binge drinking, trying to run away from his loneliness, Rich and a friend were driving to their next concert when His friend put in a tape with a sermon from Brennan Manning.

As I watched the movie and heard Brennan’s words, I began to cry. I want to share Brennan’s words with you, because last night they changed my life. And maybe, just maybe, they will change yours as well:

In the 33 years since I was first ambushed by Jesus… I am now utterly convinced that on Judgment day the Lord Jesus will ask one question and only one question, “Did you believe that I loved you? That I desired you? That I waited for you day after day? That I longed to hear the sound of your voice? The real believers will respond and say, “I believed in your love and I tried to shape my life as a response to it.

But many of us who are so faithful in our ministry, our practice, our church going are going to answer, “Well frankly, no sir. I never really believed it.” And there’s the difference between the real believers and the nominal Christians that abound in our churches across the land.

No one can measure like a believer the depth and intensity of God’s love, but then again no one can measure like a believer the effectiveness of our gloom, our pessimism, our low self-esteem, our self-hatred and despair that block God’s way to us. Do you see now why it’s so important to lay hold of this basic truth of our faith?

Because you are only going to be as big as your own concept of God. We make God in our own image and he winds up being as fussy, and rude, and narrow minded, judgmental and legalistic, and unloving and unforgiving as we are! I’ve been in churches in Bangor, Maine, Miami, Seattle, San Diego, and St. Louis and honest the God of so many Christians I meet is too small for me, because he is not the God of the Word, He is not the God who is revealed in and by Jesus Christ, who at this moment comes to your seat and says:

“I have a word for you. I know your life story. I know every skeleton in your closest, I know every moment of sin and shame, dishonesty and degraded love that darkens your past. Right now, I know your shallow faith, your feeble prayer life, your inconsistent discipleship. And my word for you is this. I dare you to trust that I love you, just as you are! Not as you should be. Because none of us are as we should be.”

Those are Brennan’s Words, but I actually believe those are Jesus’ words. I don’t know where you are at in life and faith. I don’t know what you think about yourself or what you think about God. I don’t know your past, your pain, your mess, your brokenness or your deepest and darkest secrets. But if you are anything like me, I bet you know shame. If you are anything like me, you know what it’s like to feel too broken, too messy, and too far gone to be loved by God.

What Brennan Manning showed me last night is that I feel too far gone to be loved by God because I have been making God in my own image. Lately, the God I have been trying to be perfect for has been “a fussy, rude, narrow minded, judgmental, legalistic, unloving and unforgiving God.” But that is not who God is! The God of the bible, the God of the Christian faith, and the God who sent his Son Jesus to die on the cross for me is the God who sat with me last night and said:

“I have a word for you. I know your life story. I know every skeleton in your closest, I know every moment of sin and shame, dishonesty and degraded love that darkens your past. Right now, I know your shallow faith, your feeble prayer life, your inconsistent discipleship. And my word for you is this. I dare you to trust that I love you, just as you are! Not as you should be. Because none of us are as we should be.”

My shame screams, “Matt, who you are is not enough! Who you are is broken. You are a mess. You don’t have what it takes to be loved by God!”

But last night Jesus looked me in the eyes and He said, “Matt you are broken and there are certainly parts of your life that are a mess, but look at me! I love you so much and I delight in you so much, that I consider you worth dying for!”

Shame says, “You are not enough.”

Jesus says, “You are worth so much that I died for you!”

Shame says, “There is no way Jesus loves you.”

Jesus says, “My word for you is this. I dare you to trust that I love you, just as you are! Not as you should be. Because none of us are as we should be.”

 

 

Schultz, David, dir. Ragamuffin. 2014. Web. 25 July 2016. Viewed on Netflix.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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