One of my least favorite things to eat is crow. While I’ve never partaken of a black feathered bird at my dinner table, I have had plenty of the proverbial one. Facing up to what I’ve done or said or messed up is hard, and facing the person on the other end of my faults requires so much pride swallowing that sometimes I’m sure I’ll choke. That’s an experience I’d like to avoid at nearly any cost and, sad to say, there are friendships I’ve just counted lost rather than swallow that much pride.
Isn’t it refreshing, though, when you find someone who gets it, who understands exactly where you’re coming from because they’ve been there too. You can share your heart and struggles with them and know that they aren’t going to judge you for your faults, but will extend a loving hand, a warm hug and help to repair the damage.
Believe it or not, that’s exactly Jesus’ role. It’s part of why He came to live on Earth. Hebrews 4:14-16 says,
“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
Jesus’ experiences living here as a human– being tempted as we are and yet conquering– give Him the ability to understand as well as help us to conquer. For me, if I’m sympathizing with someone, I might say something like, “I get it. I’ve been mad and yelled at my kids and I know how terrible that feels for me and them…” For Jesus, though, it’s more like, “I get it. I remember a time when I felt so angry and all I wanted to do was yell, but I took a deep breath and thought of how loving God is and how much patience it took to deal with the Israelites in the desert and decided to calm down.” He gets it AND has the solution. Not only does He have the solution for how to deal with the problem, He can give the mercy and grace you need to repair the most important relationship there ever will be: your relationship with God.
Sometimes we feel like Peter in Luke 5:8. Peter falls down at Jesus’ feet and says, “Go away from me Lord, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!” We see how amazing and holy and perfect Jesus is… and how far from that we are. I know I’ve felt that. It feels like I’m so far off the mark, so sinful… and surely God doesn’t even want to hear my prayers. But He does. In fact, He invites us to approach the throne with confidence because Jesus gets it. Because He lived here and faced all the things I face, He understands, He sympathizes. He extends a loving hand, a warm hug, help to repair the damage… and mercy and grace too. Peter told Jesus to go away… but Jesus didn’t listen. He simply said, “Do not fear…” (Luke 5:10). He says the same thing to us and because He can sympathize, we can draw near to Him and to the Father– not with trembling hands and knocking knees, but with confidence.
There is a caveat, though. Only those who are IN Christ have Him as their mediator and High Priest. If you aren’t in Christ, the first step is to get into Him (but that’s another article… click here).
Still, even when we are in Christ, sometimes we feel so sinful, so wrong, so full of crow that we think we’ll choke, but we have to make a choice. Are you going to go ahead and choke, or will you go to the One who understands and forgives, extends mercy and grace?