When my daughter was 3 years old, her favorite exclamation was “What the world happening here?” Of course she didn’t say all the letters so, it sounded more like “What the whirl happenin he-oh?” 2 years later this phrase has can be heard at nearly every family function on both sides of our family…it’s been shortened to “What the world?”…for effect, or something.
There was something magically hilarious about my 3 year daughter. Early one Christmas morning, we were in the airport, in line to get on the plane, when the attendant came on the loudspeaker to ask us to be patient as there was a slight delay inside the plane for one reason or another. My daughter, in all her sassy glory, rolled her eyes, put her hand on her hip, and said ” Oh, for cryin’ in da be-oh!” (translation: “Oh, for crying in the beer!”) Everyone around us looked at her, and then at us, smirking in astonishment. My loving husband pointed at me and said, “That’s her fault. She says it all the time.” So, so true.
I thought of this as I read an article called “What the Bleep Does the Bible Say About Profanity?” by Preston Sprinkle. Take a minute to read it if you’d like….it is really an eye-opener. If you don’t feel like reading it, here’s the two sentence synopsis: Writers in both the Old and New Testament talked about subjects that were taboo and used words that were considered obscene both then and now. Religious people have been covering up this language for years due to the non-PC nature of it.
“In some ways, it’s understandable that we don’t want to be using this type of language in church. But, on the other hand, the Gospel is offensive. Grace is scandalous. And that’s the real point.” says Sprinkle.
So, what’s the point of using scandalous words to describe this scandalous grace? Sprinkle explains it like this: “Because sometimes the goodness of God becomes lost in the fog of Christianese rhetoric and religious routine, and the only way to wake us up is to use provocative language.”
The Jesus that walked our earth was a scandalous dude. He crossed cultural barriers. He granted forgiveness to the “worst” sinners. He mingled with thieves.
That is the same Jesus who is my Lord today. Oh how I must be intentional about proclaiming that in my own life. His love for me is downright weird. He has forgiven me of everything I’ve ever done….even the crap I do over and over and over. His heart is always open…He doesn’t build up walls around His love that I need to break down with my good deeds. He loves me because He is love.
I don’t get it. And sometimes, to be honest, I don’t like it. If I truly believe that Jesus loves me with a crazy love, then who am I to not love the same way?
Scandalous love pierced the hands of my Lord while He was forgiving me for not knowing what I was doing to Him. I put him on the cross with my habitual sin. It was me who pounded the nails through the bones of his feet every time I do not love my neighbor as myself. I placed the crown of thorns on His head and pushed it down just to see it bleed when I don’t want to seem like the “weird Christian” that is sold out for Jesus. I mocked him, saying “Sure, sure….if you’re a King then why don’t you DO SOMETHING” when I don’t believe the His plan is enough for me life and when I’m not inclined to heed his answer of “Wait” or “No”.
Yeah, I do all that….and I will continue to do things that don’t line up with the truth of who I believe Jesus is and what I know He did for me. Still, he continues to shower me with His crazy love that is covered in grace….scandalous grace.
Truly, that is a reason to exclaim, “What the world?”