“It’s OK to not be OK”
This sticky statement has been one of the central themes at our church for a while now. Essentially, it communicates the fact that everyone is welcome at our church—no matter what you’ve done or who you are, we want you to come to church and hear the life changing message of the Gospel.
Yet, as with any short and sticky statement, there is always a potential for misinterpretation and misapplication.
For example, this statement intended to be used for comforting the broken can easily be distorted into people thinking we are complacent or apathetic toward sin. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The pendulum could also be swung the other way when people start thinking that if you look OK on the outside, this must mean you are hiding something on the inside. After all, no one can truly be OK. Or can they?
In fact, I wonder if for some, “It’s OK to not be OK” means that since no one is OK, then anyone professing to be OK is lying. Talk about a distorted view of the Holy Spirt’s role in our life. What a defeated attitude this represents!
Now, obviously there is a sense in which no one is fully OK until we find ourselves face to face with Jesus (1 Corinthians 13:12). The Apostle Paul even reminds us that our battle is still against flesh and blood (Ephesians 6:12). He also reminds us that we are to remain in this battle until Christ returns, and we are made perfect (Eph. 6:10-18).
Yet at the same time, I also want to point out that there should be a distinction between who you are and who you once were. And not only should there be a distinction but the distance between the two should grow more and more the longer you follow Christ.
As Paul says in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11,
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
What Paul is saying here is, while Christians are not perfect they are clearly different from who they once were before Christ came crashing in their life. He writes in verse eleven that because of Jesus’ work in our lives, we are now washed, sanctified and justified. Paul’s point is that while we might not be perfect, we should be striving towards Christ-like holiness. The key of course is the Holy Spirit’s work in our life.
So with that said, come one, come all and receive the forgiveness that only Christ Jesus can offer. We will accept you, embrace you, and love you with a Christ-like love. But because we love with a Christ-like love, expect not only to be welcomed, but challenged—challenged to ask the Holy Spirit to transform you into the image of Jesus!
My hope is that we realize that while it’s OK not to be OK, it’s not OK to stay not OK. For those who have received the gift of grace, we now must go onto maturity.
As the writer of Hebrews states,
Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God (Hebrews 6:1)
The good news is, we have a helper (John 14:26) who cares enough about us to not allow us to stay in our sin, but help us move onto maturity. Thanks be to God!