Real People with Real Problems

For most of my life I honestly didn’t look forward to going to church or reading the Bible. I thought that everyone in the Bible was perfect and everyone in church was close to perfect.

I was afraid to be honest and open because I didn’t feel like I could relate to anyone. I thought that everyone around me had it all together and I was the only one who had real struggles and frequent failures. I thought I didn’t have a chance of living a life comparable or even relatable to what I knew of the Bible. As a result, I quit listening and reading scripture with intent to apply it to my life.

I missed out on a lot until I finally decided to read the Bible for myself. What I learned and what I read was a complete shock to me. I realized that the men and women of the Bible are just as much human and imperfect as we are today. I discovered the Bible isn’t a cleaned up version of reality. It contains real people with real problems.

Here are just a few examples…

  • David spied on a woman bathing and had an affair. (2 Samuel 11:1-4)

When I first read the story in 2 Samuel 11 I was completely floored. In the story, David is walking around on his roof when a woman bathing catches his eye. You would think since David is called a man after God’s own heart that he wouldn’t mess up. The truth is, the person that doesn’t mess up doesn’t exist. It just means that David was human and he failed.

So remember the next time you fail – just because you have failed, it doesn’t mean you are a failure.

  • Zacchaeus was an extortionist (Luke 19:1-10)

There are two things we all know about Zacheaus  – he was a ‘wee little man’ and he climbed a tree. That isn’t the only two things we know about him though. The Bible also says that Zacheaus was a wealthy, chief tax collector. This means that he made a living by extorting his own people and supporting the oppressive and abusive Roman Empire. He would’ve been despised and hated by the Jewish community (kind of like a drug dealing gangster would be despised in your community today). That is why the scripture says that the “people grumbled” when they saw Jesus visit the house of such a sinner.

Jesus’ love and grace is so scandalous that even if you have lived your life making other people miserable, His love is still for you. You still have a chance!

  • Noah got drunk and naked (Genesis 9:21)

Yes, you read that correctly. Noah got drunk and naked. Most of what we know about Noah is centered on his relentless obedience to God. He endured ridicule from others as he built a massive ark in preparation for the flood all while remaining faithful and obedient. Yet, he still falls prey to the misuse of alcohol and becomes drunk, so much so that he lays exposed.

Have you ever made a mistake? Went too far?  Good news – just like Noah, you’re still usable by God.

After hearing so many miraculous stories in the Bible we tend to think of the people God worked through so powerfully as “Super-Christians”. However, they are just as human as you or I. The characters we read about in the Bible had struggles just like we do. They struggled with serious issues like – lust, greed, envy, hatred, bitterness, gossip… you name it and they experienced it.

The reality is that none of the people God used were all that incredible to begin with. In fact, it was their realization of their weakness in light of God’s power that made them great.

It’s easy to keep God at an arms distance when you feel like you don’t measure up, but if you do that you will never experience the help that you need. You’re invited to be honest and open. Jesus explains in Mark 2:17 that He came not to call those who think they have it all together, instead He came to call those who know they are broken!

This means you don’t have to pretend to be something you’re not. You’re free to admit you have weaknesses and issues.

Wherever you are in life and whatever you’re doing, God wants to meet you there.



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