How to Put Your Worst First

What do you fear?

I fear needles—especially if the needles are aiming my direction at a doctor’s office.

     Some of my friends get that anxious, uneasy feeling around crowds, birds and stinging bees.

And all of us get particularly panicky when it comes to honesty.

  •      We all shake with the fear of being honest.

Have you ever paid attention to the way post-apocalyptic movies capitalize on our fear of honesty?

The formula goes something like this:  The planet gets pulverized by a plague- or meteor- or war- and everyone and everything is annihilated.

Everyone except one weak, scared, selfish, lonely survivor.

We identify with the survivor at a primal level as she ambulates apprehensively from town to town, fighting to stay alive.

Then, after the sole survivor has run out of food, ammo and hope, she glimpses something scarier than anything she has yet encountered.

Another “other”.

She spots that second survivor and dives into a deep ditch praying to God that she won’t be found.

  •      But then the inevitable happens.

The other person peers over the edge of the ditch.

     We all hold our breath as the eyes of both survivors meet.

          Their eyes search out the status and strength of the other.

As we watch with sweaty palms our anxiety is registering in the red.

The helpless one quivering in the ditch has only one question:

     If she reveals her faintness and frailty will the other person hurt her or help her?

She decides to put her worst first.

“I’ve got no weapon, food or intent to harm you.  I’m starving, scared and all alone.”

In her soul’s center she whispers inaudibly “Now that I’ve put my worst first in naked honesty, will you want to keep knowing me and friend me?”

She relates through vulnerability and speaks directly to the vulnerability of the “other”.

     We all exhale in joy as the other speaks tenderly:

“Come out in the open.  I’m just as scared and confused and cracked as you.  Trust me as I promise to help you even though you have nothing to offer.”

And this is why sinners clothed in Sin’s only clothing line “SHAME” take the risk of trusting Jesus.  
The divorcers, addicts, obsessives, compulsives, coveters, adulterers, sexually distorted, gossipers, idolaters, the enslaved to expectations, and self-righters---all the fearful-- can come out of hiding and huddle in the embrace of Jesus.

Have you ever realized that Jesus was the ultimate “other”?

The story of God reveals a fatal fall in the beginning of time because we mistrusted our good God (Genesis 3).

The weeds of sin, self-consciousness and doubt began to grow and enwrap the planet.

The resultant self-justifying fear of honesty crept over creation and smothered our human hearts with insecurity.

     But then God irreversibly stitched on our status and became a co-survivor.

He looked into our ditch because he himself understood our fear and fragility.

He identified with our sinful situation and shame so that the verdict of Sinless! could be stitched into our wrinkled hearts forever. (2 Corinthians 5:21; Matthew 27:28,35).

His mission was and is to speak through his vulnerability to our vulnerability.

And this frees us all from fear.

Wrapped in His resume and resources we can now relate to others by putting our worst first.

Have you tasted this fearless freedom?

Pastor Howard
Senior Pastor
Metro North Church