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When We've Gone Rogue

Posted on October 6, 2014 at 9:00 AM

I was sitting on the edge of Sunset Cliffs, peering into the vast blue expanse of the Pacific Ocean, when I came to grips that I wasn’t a very good Christian; it was probably the seventeenth time that year. I was a “super-senior” at a Christian college, and had given much of my time to various ministries – lead a couple of them – and I felt lost at that moment. The path I was on was shadowed by sin and regret and uncertainty. I felt alone on that unstable cliff while my eyes gazed at the endless majestic ocean. I thought about quitting.


I thought about going rogue. No one would know.


The heaviness of life was taking its toll on my mind. My Adversary loves to lie (John 8:44). He takes what is good and twists it. He takes what is bad and makes it pleasant. The light things get weightier. The heavy gets light.


Not praying feels good.


Autonomy appears to be freedom.


Going rogue feels good.


For a season.


The problem is we’re so vulnerable at times like these. When we’ve strayed off the path and we’ve squandered what’s been given, we sit on a cliff of uncertainty in a straightjacket, imprisoned with guilt, our conscience betraying us. We’ve lived our whole lives trying to be strong: doing the right things, plotting the course and remaining faithful to the cause. Eventually, the cause is no longer trusted.


So, we go rogue.


Undercover.


Hidden.


We begin thinking in contradictions. Why do I do what I do? But I love what I do. But I’ve failed over and over (Romans 7).


It’s interesting though. “None of my failures in faithfulness have proved terminal,” the late Brennan Manning once wrote. “Again and again radical grace has gripped me in the depths of my being, [and has] brought me back to accept the ownership of my infidelities.”


When we’ve gone rogue, the Light uncovers us in our darkness. Grace has a way of bringing us back to Him when we are at our end. Grace is a magnet; it draws to itself the one it seeks—the prisoner. Grace does what all my works can’t: it releases straightjacketed prisoners.


Grace Forgives


“The forgiveness of God is gratuitous liberation from guilt” (Brennan Manning).


Only in the gospel of grace – and nowhere else in this world – does forgiveness precede repentance.


You mean, me, the train wreck rebel, doesn’t have to clean up the debris and wreckage I’ve done?


Nope. You need not clean up one piece.


Rogues Come Home With A Limp


The self-absorbed, reckless, needy, promiscuous, younger brother eventually came to the end of himself in Luke 15 and walked sheepishly home only to be seen from far off and embraced by his father.


In his chapter “The Victorious Limp” from The Ragamuffin Gospel, Brennan Manning describes this prodigal son:


“When the prodigal son limped home from his lengthy binge of waste and wandering, boozing and womanizing, his motives were mixed … He stumbled home simply to survive. His sojourn in a far country left him bankrupt. The days of wine and roses had left him dazed and disillusioned … Disenchanted with life, the wastrel weaved his way home, not from a burning desire to see his father, but just to stay alive” (182).


When we’re lost, when we’re not on the path, when we’ve gone rogue, we don’t have to do anything to come home; we’re just done with ourselves, with our own weak solutions and fixes. There doesn’t have to be a good motive for coming home.


And the first step is already taken by a loving Father who eagerly scanning the horizon searching for your face.


“Even if we come back because we couldn’t make it on our own, God will welcome us. He will seek no explanations about our sudden appearance. He is glad we are there” (183).


The father in Luke 15 doesn’t cross-examine his wayward son, doesn’t pester him with questions, or lecture him with “I told you so.” Instead he’s overjoyed. He took him back just as he was.


Our Heavenly Father does the same for us.


God Just Shows Up


It is becoming clearer to me each and every day that Jesus is relentless in pursuing those who have lost their path. Those who have looked up and asked, “What the heck, God?!” are the ones who are granted a pillow to lay their fears, frustrations, anxieties on.


In His merciful love, God just shows up. “We don’t have to tarry at the tavern until purity of heart arrives. We don’t have to be shredded with sorrow or crushed with contrition. We don’t have to be perfect or even very good before God will accept us. We don’t have to wallow in guilt, shame, remorse, and self-condemnation” (183).


We’re kissed,


held,


clothed,


celebrated.



This post was written by Jeffery A. Block

Categories: Guest Contributors

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