Breaking ‘Bad’

It’s okay not to be okay. It doesn’t feel like it, but that’s the truth.

It’s part of being human. Which, unless I’m missing something, means that


Believers have problems. Not just ‘Christian’ ones: Skipping the odd quiet time. Forgetting to pray for a missionary.  Young Jenny being passed over for the role of Mary in the church Nativity. Baking substandard muffins for the fete.

No, Christians struggle. With alcohol and money and family and porn and self-harm and depression and addiction and singleness and marriedness and EVERY SINGLE THING THAT YOU CAN THINK OF.  Stuff a church-goer shouldn’t even think about, let alone do.

But it’s not our having it together that makes us Christian. It’s not graduating to a smaller level of sin or investing in a shinier mask.

Jesus didn’t die to rescue us from stealing pic’ n mix.

He didn’t die to give us a good start, providing we can keep up the standards.

For every single thing we do wrong – past, present, future.  Paid for. Done.

Every angry word and questioning thought. Including our doubts: the times when we feel far from God. When we’re cold and dry and wondering if He’s even there.

He has hold of us, even when we let go of Him.

Sometimes I feel like when I put down the mask, I’m abnormal. That real Christians are strong and I am weak. But actually, it’s the mask that’s weird. And church is precisely where someone miserable and sinful and messed-up belongs.


15 thoughts on “Breaking ‘Bad’

  1. But is it normal for Christians – or anyone – to be not-okay or struggling or addicted or depressed or wearing a mask or whatever it is, for ever? Or for an extremely extended period of time? I thought Jesus died to save us..

  2. heh, i feel to awful to even leave my flat to get to church. in fact i wish i never had to leave the flat at all. wish i could just….fade away. how can Jesus save me, when i don’t even deserve to look at his feet never mind his face. i am falling further and further from everything, going through the motions cos that is expected of me. the mask has been superglued on, because its not even worth the chance that it will slip. i cant see how anything can be good anymore. i know this time of year is bad for me, but i cant hardly see past tomorrow, never mind see Jesus there saving me.

  3. Yes, J, Jesus died to save us totally, but that won’t be seen until the resurrection, when we entirely become the new creations He intends – it will, from start to finish, entirely His work. In the meantime, as Paul shows in passages like Romans 7, we still have to deal with the reality that we have a dying part of us that is still wanting to sin, still wanting to be very much closed to God, and that is where the struggle will continue as long as we remain in this current life. The problems really start when we seek to deny or mask that part of us instead of actively being part of a loving community where are genuinely able to confess our faults to each other, pray for each other and help each other. I don’t say this lightly – I’ve been in plenty of churches where you’re supposedly ‘living the victory’…. fine until the carpet is pulled up. Now, I’m beginning to feel part of a fellowship where I feel that I can begin to care because the over-riding message is that He truly cares and totally loves us as we are.

    Wonderful, Emma – re-enforces tonight’s service, in which it was wonderful to meet Glen.

  4. I know that feeling, Kerry – it was very real when I lost my wife to cancer… life really didn’t have anything to offer any more. The truth is none of us deserve saving – you’re so right, that we’re not anywhere near worthy enough to even look at Him, but He’s still going to come like a servant and wash our feet… He loves us that deeply, so just look at what He’s done for you, on the Cross and right there, in your small place, there can be healing. He truly loves you, Kerry. Our prayers are with you.

  5. Right on the nail, Mrs S – again! Thank you for you honesty. The mask is too heavy to keep on and I’m done with living in a load of false ‘hallelujah smiles’!
    Jesus is the only one who prefers us without the masks anyway!

  6. Right on the nail, again, Mrs S! Thank you for sharing this. The mask is too heavy to keep up and I’m done with living a life of ‘hallelujah smiles’!
    Jesus loves me, this I know, for the bible tells me so. And I am so grateful for that!!

  7. I don’t think i can even when the day comes let the Lord Jesus was my feet. I have trouble believing that one day, ill be up there, and all this pain and all the evil bits of me will be gone. i know he died on the cross for all of us, but i cannot see where this ends out for me. i cannot love myself, how can anyone love me? even the one who died for me. i just can’t. but then my head is screwed much more than normal right now, so who knows if my thinking will change after this season….

  8. Thanks J – great question. It’s certainly not a case of settling down with our struggles – we bring them to the Lord and we fight them too.

    However, I guess I’m thinking of Luke 18:9-14. Jesus, the Doctor, has nothing to say to those who think they’re healthy – only for the sick. Everyone has addictions – greed, work, relationships, etc. Those who think they’ve arrived are those who should worry most.

    ..thanks Howard for answering far more articulately than I could!

  9. Kerry, been thinking a lot about what you’ve said and praying for you too. I’m so sorry this is such a hard season: and that there are no simple answers: for you or for any of us.

    But whatever we feel about ourselves, here’s what keeps me going: Jesus is for us – completely, unshakeably for us. He loves us and we are the price He has set on us: which makes us precious beyond words. None of us deserve grace – but that’s why we can rely on it and rely on the Saviour who brings it to us: because it’s a gift. Praying that you and I will know this x

  10. Emma, thankyou for your prayers. it means a lot at the moment, when i’m finding it hard to pray. had a psych appointment today, and he is trying me on a different med, but there is a small chance that this drug could make me worse in terms of my mood and the desire to punish myself in various ways. being that i’m pretty rock bottom already, the thought should scare me. i’m not sure it does though :/ we shall see.

  11. Kerry – thanks – it’s good to know how I can pray specifically for you. Well done for trying the new med, especially when you feel so rotten. x

  12. Everyone reading this needs to let their mask down, and that’s what makes a church family function like we were made to. It’s hard to be honest, but if we do it, others will know us better & not only help us more, but also be more willing to share. As I’ve been confronted more by the darkness of sin in my heart, I have clung on to the love Jesus has for me & that it is paid for, as Romans 7 says: wretched man that I am! who will save me from this body of death? Thanks be to the Lord + Father of our Saviour Jesus Christ! (off top of my head)
    Admitting (to some) the lustful thoughts in my head that make me guilty of adultery, & more widely my anger (makes guilty of murder) I think has helped ppl be more honest w me. & see that if a pastor’s-wife-in-training is wretched, then we all are.
    Another thing that I would do well to remember, is that the grace & love shown me by Jesus, is the same grace & love shown to the person who I have hated, or hurt, or who has hurt me or failed me in some way. Oh God, help me to love others as you love me.

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