Last November, I was blessed to be able to order a sofa, ottoman, and love seat Mrs. Boyd had been admiring for a long, long time. It was an early Christmas present. The only hitch was that the love seat would not arrive until long after the other two pieces.
Well, it came last month.
When the enormous package arrived we were more than little concerned. The box had several huge rips in the side and looked like it had come out on the wrong end of a knife fight. As a school principal, I have had to return multiple pieces of furniture and equipment that came to us broken or somehow not of top quality. So the condition of the outside was worrisome.
As the package was opened it was not without some sense of wonder that we realized that the love seat came through unscathed and in perfect condition. We learned that it was not only beautiful but apparently pretty well constructed.
The whole scene made me think about people as damaged goods.
- I thought about people wearing the outward scars of surgery or child-bearing.
- I thought about people who live with the evidence of a struggle with acne or who now have thinning hair.
- I also thought about those handling grief or disappointment or betrayal.
- The list could go on and on.
All of these can lead to an appearance of being damaged goods.
But the whole love seat incident made me reconsider that. Maybe those are all things in peoples’ lives that represent the box, the package we come in.
But the love seat can represent who we really are on the inside, as loved and forgiven children of God.
The writer of Hebrews explains it this way:
14 For by the one offering He has perfected forever and completely cleansed those who are being sanctified]. 15 And the Holy Spirit also adds His testimony to us [in confirmation of this]; for after having said,
16 “This is the covenant that I will make with them
After those days, says the Lord:
I will imprint My laws upon their heart,
And on their mind I will inscribe them [producing an inward change],”
He then says,
17 “And their sins and their lawless acts
I will remember no more [no longer holding their sins against them].”
18 Now where there is [absolute] forgiveness and complete cancellation of the penalty of these things, there is no longer any offering [to be made to atone] for sin.
God does not promise a complete and perfect package. Our scars and damage remain. But the work of Jesus Christ guarantees that when one looks beneath the outward damaged goods, there exists a perfectly forgiven person. Can we see this in ourselves? We need to believe and trust that it is true for us. Can we see it in others who share our faith? Won’t that change our outlook on them?
In His Children’s Service, Robert C. Boyd