I just read The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning. OMG. LOVE this book! All of the pages are marked up and underlined and starred. I write things like “YES!” in the margins with lots of “!!!!!”
This book is about Grace. This book cracks open the shells that we have built around ourselves through our perfectionism and our striving and our “I have to do this to get to heaven” beliefs and lays God’s promise out bare.
Jesus offers us Grace. We don’t need a special invitation to an elite club, we don’t need to perform in order to earn His Grace, we don’t need to have the right outfit or hang around with the right people. He’s not asking us for a document showing how worthy we are, He’s not saying you are too fat, too drunk, too dumb, too broke, too lost. In fact, He is saying, “Bring it!”. He is saying, bring your messy, dirty, scary, fearful, doubting, lost hearts and open them to me. I want all of you. I want you now…as you are…not when you get it all together and look perfect.
Before reading this book, I would not have called myself a Ragamuffin. In Mirriam-Webster dictionary it defines Ragamuffin as a poorly clothed, often dirty child. By the world’s standards, I am not poorly clothed or dirty. But through the eyes of grace I now realize I am often poorly clothed – in pride and judgment and fear and performing and striving and lack of gratitude. Sometimes I am dirty in excess and gluttony and fear and a sense of entitlement and guilt and that feeling of “not enough”.
Turns out I am a Ragamuffin. After reading this book, that is exactly what I want to be. It is in my awareness of my brokenness that I seek Jesus and His message of Redemption and Freedom. If we are always perfect and capable and clean and sinless, then why would we need a savior?
I love every word on every page of this book but here is one that sums it up: “Do you really accept the message that God is head over heels in love with you? …If in our hearts we really don’t believe that God loves us as we are, if we are still tainted by the lie that we can do something to make God love us more, we are rejecting the message of the cross.”
Manning talks about the Prodigal Son a lot which I love because it’s my favorite! He says that “the emphasis of this story is not on the sinfulness of the son but on the generostiy of the Father”.
Manning talks about Jesus saying, “His ministry was to those whom society considered real sinners. They had done nothing to merit salvation. Yet they opened themselves to the gift that was offered them. On the other hand, the self-righteous placed their trust in the works of the Law and closed their hearts to the message of grace.”
What about you? Is your heart open to the message of grace?
Are you a Ragamuffin?©2013 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™ All Rights Reserved