Praise for the Prodigal

Dear Matt,

First things first—I wish you lived closer to me so that you could help me shed these ghastly pounds and I could slap your hand when make your third trip to Starbucks for yet another Latte. Don’t they teach you trainers that coffee is bad? But, no, I’m not writing to talk about the discomfort of my bathroom scale or your caffeine consumption.

I have known you Matt Moore for over a year now. Did you know that we are celebrating our one year literary anniversary? Oh, you forgot did you? Well, lucky for you, you live a state away and can’t experience the wrath of my red, scathing…pen. mhYv67wWhen I signed you as a client I had grand visions of taking your words and shaping them and making them pitch perfect and ready for publication. What I didn’t expect is that you—and your words—would actually shape me instead.

You called yourself an idiot today. And I need you to know something.

I don’t sign idiots. 

But, what I do sign is people with messages—stories that can change the world. And you know what—I’ve read what they say about you. Them. And them. I’ve heard the accusations—and read the thousands of comments—and I know that some things are true and most are not. And you know what? I don’t care about public opinion. But, I do care deeply—my friend—about you.

You know that being your friend is both beautiful and maddening? It’s maddening because I want to defend you. I want to white-out every cruel word, and edit out every hopeless thought, and re-write the story with a lot less pain. But, you’re struggle, Matt, has changed the Christian that I am. See, I know that teenage me—homophobic me—moving through life like I’d just gotten a shot of Jesus espresso would be okay putting your issues in a neat and tidy box labeled outcast or misfit and walking away. See, some of the church still does this. And I get it—it’s called fear. We are afraid of what we can’t explain. And I’m thankful every day that God has allowed me to grow up. To hate the sin, love the sinner, and be the hands of Jesus in the midst of your struggle. I’m no longer the girl who is afraid to get close to someone I don’t understand. For God has grown me up in Him and I’m so thankful that he’s allowed me to see you—to really see you. 

Being your friend is hard—because I want you to fit. But, your history causes you to stand a part—to not  fit in the church in a neat/tidy way.  But, see, you don’t fit in the homosexual community either—cause you stand against indulging the flesh. And they hate you for it. They hate you for what you say about their lifestyle. And that is exactly why being your friend is beautiful too. Because, you know what?

Misfits are a perfect fit in the Kingdom of God.

See, we’ve forgotten that the Son of God was quite the outcast. He was a misfit. He dared to dine with tax collectors, healed on the Sabbath, and spoke to people who didn’t exactly run in his social circles. And they hated him for it. They were afraid of what they couldn’t understand. But, standing in that place—in that gap—was exactly where God called Him. Don’t think for a second that that place isn’t hard. It’s the place where Heaven and Hell collide and it’s messy and hot and and only those equipped with the Holy Spirit dare to get that close to the fire without getting consumed.

Today, I want to remind you what you promised me. The only thing you promised me.

My name is Matt Moore. I am a wretched sinner saved only by the grace of God in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Because I got EXACTLY what I bargained for. And thankfully, Jesus was such the outcast himself, that He accomplished EXACTLY what God sent him to Earth to do. Save the outcast—and give grace to the idiots.

And thank God—because there’s blood on my hands too.

And you know what else, I don’t really care if I ever make a dime on you. I don’t care how big you build your platform, or how many times a week you blog, or what anybody in the homosexual community has to say. I don’t even care if there is ever a book that says MATT MOORE in bold letters across the front. But, what I do care about is that you know the love of God. That you feel it deep in your soul. That you feel His goodness—and that you know that as you search—God is always searching for you. Fighting for you. Because there is always praise for the prodigal, Matt. You can run, you can squander all that you have, but IN CHRIST, the story always ends the same way—with the father at the end of the road seeking YOU out. No matter how long you’ve been gone or how far you’ve run—He’s always waiting.  And no amount of debate or bill or feeling can change the character of God. His love endures forever and He waits to remove your filthy rags and wash your feet.

Matt, the table is set.

The food has been prepared.

Just take and eat and rest.

Stay strong—and remember that there’s always room at the cross and praise for the prodigal. 

“For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate. Luke 15:24

“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”

― C.S. LewisMere Christianity

Comments

  1. Excellent! I love that you recognize the deep love of God for ALL… and are speaking it out loud. Your words… the picture you paint… the truth you tell… is spot on. Thank you for standing up for a brother and loving him, even through the mess. Messy is beautiful… and normal… and reality. Love your heart, Jessie!

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