Imperfect Vessels and Healing Ministers – Part 2

Breaches will be healed

Finally, I have the opportunity to return and finish my thoughts on imperfect vessels and healing ministers.

Studying the lives of many of those who, over the centuries, have been used greatly by God in healing reveals many flawed lives – divorce, infidelity, straying from sound doctrine, sins of the flesh, the heart and the mind.

If you know little about their lives, then look at Moses – who said no to God multiple times; David, who killed a man and took his wife; Peter, who betrayed Jesus not once, but three times; Solomon, the man blessed with the most wisdom who strayed to idols; Peter again, who drew back from the Gentiles until Paul had harsh words with him.

Jars of clay.  That all it is.  Jars of clay.  Imperfect vessels.  Yet, time and time again, our Heavenly Father uses imperfect vessels, not letting the perfect become an enemy of the good or an enemy of saving souls or healing the sick.  If He had to wait for perfect ministers, no one would ever be sent to work in ministry. Peter wouldn’t get to write a chunk of the Bible and neither would Solomon.

Yet also, it is this paradox that perplexes us, doesn’t it?  It disappoints us when we see imperfect men and women (we must include ourselves) in ministry, and hurts us when we have unpleasant encounters with Christians – our close brothers and sisters in Christ.  Sometimes, in truth, it leads to bonds that are irretrievably broken…on earth.

Have you ever lost close friendships with other Christians? I think we all have.  So it gets me to thinking….

How will we be in heaven?

What will happen to all the pettiness in the church?  What will happen to all the awkwardness of broken friendships, broken trust, hurts, differences, separations and the like?  How much awkwardness will there be when Paul meets Barnabas?  Remember they had such an argument that they went their separate ways, despite the bond between them forged in the challenges of ministry.

Yes, Paul had charitable things to say about Mark later – Barnabas’ nephew who they disagreed about – and there was certainly forgiveness.  Yes.  However, we never see Paul and Barnabas together on the mission field again.  That bond is changed, things probably became awkward. Same with the fellow who cheated with his father’s wife in Corinth. Just awkward. Not sure how they look each other in the eye after that, even though he repented.

Will similar moments exist when the Grecian widows meet the Hebrew widows in heaven? Or when you meet that cousin whom you love but cannot stand his tactlessness or the broken trust from the past?

The answer of course in scripture, is No – there will be no awkwardness in heaven.  There will nothing to cause hurt or embarrassment or pain or shame. We lose the old flesh and that is part of it.  In that, we are set free from sins of the flesh and the soul.   We get a new resurrection body that is unblemished and spirit-ruled, not soul/mind ruled.

I believe the other part is a work God does when we go on to be with Him.  Remember, like Lazarus and the rich man, we will keep our memories.  We don’t lose memories.  However, they will lose their power to hurt or harm or shame us.  Thus all the awkwardness, pain, shame will be also gone- rendered powerless also.

So back to the imperfect vessels.  You see, that’s why God says love as He loved you.  Forgive as he forgave you.  Not “to the best of you ability” or “because they deserve it”. Can’t understand how God forgave you?  Right, forgive others the same way.

You can’t understand why God didn’t strike down that arrogant or racist or sinful minister?  Well, he didn’t strike you down, did he?  So we invent the canard that the minster lost his salvation. It makes us feel better.  Most likely, he did not, no more than you did when you lied yesterday or watched that ungodly film.

Jars of clay. Imperfect vessels. That’s why Christianity is so different from any other religion. Pure grace. Unfathomable grace.  Grace yesterday. Grace today and tomorrow.  Grace in life.  A mysterious grace in death.  A grace that sets things right, cleanses, purifies.  Why don’t you see the end from the beginning?  Then you can love without real reason.  Then you can also “love sincerely, from the heart.”

May God’s grace be upon you who offended and the ones who offended you.  May His grace work to restore broken trust in THIS life, not only the next.  May He bring reconciliation where it is possible and where it is impossible.  May He help you understand and love even when distance must be kept in this life due to the memories and awkwardness. Amen.

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2 Responses to "Imperfect Vessels and Healing Ministers – Part 2"

  1. Thanks for your continued post on healing. I visit the site often and am always thankful for what you are sharing. Yes it is true that God uses imperfect vessels but the grace of God enables us to carryout His will and plan. He doesn’t ask for perfection just our obedience and commitment. Thanks again.

    • author says:

      Dear Pastor Younger. Thank you so much for your comments. I appreciate them and I quite agree that it is all through His Grace we can go on in His calling. This discussion verges on deeper issues in the Christian life and I pray that I have been faithful and accurate in delving into them. Best Regards.

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