I was at a small group last night where we talked about how the church’s job is not to show the world how to be holy. Our job is to show the world how to repent. In Psalm 51 David is repenting before God from his sin with Bathsheba. He cries out appealing to the mercy of God:
Create in me a clean heart, O God.
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from your Presence
And do not take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of Your salvation
And sustain me with a willing spirit.
It is in this moment, when David is on his knees, begging for mercy, at the lowest point of his life—this is when he can say:
Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,
And sinners will be turned back to You.
The turning of sinners comes through David’s own repentance. How often I hide my “messiness” from all but the closest few. I think I have to act with a standard of holiness in order to convince others to follow my God, but perhaps the thing the world needs most is to see me in my broken places, to have me acknowledge my full humanity, and then have them see God accept me all the same. The world may not be convinced until they see the church upon its knees before the throne of God.