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Gonna mess you up [repost]

There are two things that will really mess you up in life.  Getting married and becoming a Christian.  You can poodle along quite contentedly before either of these states.  But once you enter marriage, or once Christ enters you - life as you know it is over.

I know a good number of people who have developed and/or exacerbated serious emotional and psychological problems upon entering one or both of these states.

How come?  Well here's one thought.  In both you have the unconditional presence of another.  Not even your sins can keep people at bay now.  In fact now sins just become the occasion for a much deeper engagement.  Conditionality used to keep your sins underground and your critics distant.  When things were conditional you knew that the presence of love in your life was directly related to your ability to keep unloveliness hidden.  Now you have unconditional - and therefore inescapable - presence.

Ironically it's not law that shines a torchlight into our basements.  It's grace.  There's no hiding place from unconditional love.

Barth used to say 'God's grace shatters men.'  George Hunsinger wrote a book on Barth's theology called 'Disruptive Grace.'  That's the true nature of covenant relationships.  Yes they are the context in which true growth and godliness occur.  But only because first of all they totally mess you up.

What do we expect in Christian discipleship? What do we expect in marriage?  I say prepare for massive disturbance - and I mean disturbance in the fullest sense of the word.

0 thoughts on “Gonna mess you up [repost]

  1. blogblunders

    Love the post - but I would agree with Paul - there are three things!
    Following Jesus,
    and parenthood! But, still falls under your thoughts - all three mess you up and disturb what you used to call normal! ;-)

    Be blessed in all that you do!

    See you for a coffee soon?


  2. Glen

    Totally, parenting will change everything and in a much more dramatic and immediately obvious way. But parenting is different in this respect: it *begins* with unrelenting demands. And that's the cause of the immediate and obvious change.

    What's different about conversion and marriage is that, intially, it's unconditional *love* that messes you up. There's a whole lot of demands that will come along with the relationship, but the immediate life-quake is not so much the presence of another person who *needs* you - it's the constant presence of someone who is *for* you. It's less intuitively obvious why that would mess you up. But it does.

    And that's not to say there isn't profound grace to be enjoyed in parenting. And of course there are demands to be fulfilled with Jesus and our spouse. But here I'm just interested in the reasons for the initial "mess up".

    But I'm not a parent so I'm happy to be corrected.

    Steve, I'll facebook you, that'd be nice :)

  3. Tim Coomar

    [S]onversion is a 'traumatic' experience...

    Perhaps we all 'know' this in some sense based on our own experience and observation but for some reason the received terminology has been almost exclusively positive, so we alter it in our presentation and perhaps even come to believe this doctored version.

  4. Emma Bail

    Love your post and totally agreed with all the thoughts of yours.Very true that two things in life are the most important that is getting married and following Jesus.I also thinks that there is no specific stage required to follow Jesus we have to keep faith in Him whatever we do...

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