|Volume 25 Number 6 June 2023
Louis Rushmore, Editor
Life is messy! Dictionary definitions for the word “messy” include “confusion,” “disorder,” “lacking precision,” “extremely unpleasant or trying” (Merriam-Webster), “embarrassing,” “difficult,” “characterized by moral or psychological confusion” (Dictionary.com), “Exhibiting or demonstrating carelessness” (American Heritage) and “out of control” (Urban Dictionary). All of those descriptions paint images that plague every human’s life to some degree sooner or later or even all together. Life on earth is messy in so many ways.
Life is messy regarding the various and infinitesimal ways in which often life does not unfold just as one expects or desires. Circumstances in which people find themselves often have serious and unending consequences. Much of the time, the debacles that dot individuals’ lives also relate to sins or unrighteousness (1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Galatians 5:19-21; Revelation 21:8) – what God through the Holy Spirit inspired Bible specifies as lawlessness (1 John 3:4). Life is messy today – just as messy with sin as it was preceding the universal deluge in the days of Noah (Genesis 6-8) or in Sodom and Gomorrah prior to God’s fiery judgment on them (Genesis 19).
For many young children, life is messy because of something that happened in their homes or otherwise in the environment to which they were subjected. Dreadful incidents they may have experienced can affect them for decades or even for the rest of their lives. These events may range from physical, emotional or sexual abuse, exposure to war or violent crime, poverty, famine, deprivation of education or medical attention, and a vast catalog of proceedings. Sinful things may imperil youngsters, which, though as unaccountable children they are sinless (Matthew 18:3), they may later replicate such sins in their own lives. Life certainly is messy.
Life is often messy for young adolescents as they reach puberty. The bodies of boys and girls begin to change as they have never before, and it can be an alarming and an awkward time of adjustment. They experience hormonal affects that can cloud and seem to override even the best and most moral upbringing. Young Christians are not immune to sexual desires. Life can become very messy when an unplanned pregnancy results in either prematurely (i.e., too young and unmarried) bringing a new life into the world or resorting to an abortion. In either case, life will never be the same, and it will never be exactly what it could have or would have been otherwise. Yes, life is messy.
Life is no less messy even under better decision-making choices when young married couples attempt to make the transition from single life to married life – especially if God is not a partner and guide in their marriage. Words angrily or carelessly spoken or loving vocabulary not said can be injurious and hurtful. Life is messy. Parenting is messy, too, as novice parents go through on-the-job-training in childrearing. What’s more, an approach that works well with one child proves essentially useless when applied to another young one. Often, spouses and parents look back on their domestic conduct with remorse – earnestly wishing they could go back and change the way they parented or the way they behaved toward their respective life partners.
Life is messy with immoralities such as adultery, fornication and pornography. Life is messy with divorces and unscriptural remarriages. Life is messy with lies and dishonesty. At every turn, life is messy. When a person sometimes comes to his senses spiritually (Luke 15:17), he hardly knows how to undo his or her messy life. Some things cannot be undone! However, there is always a way back to God for those who are willing to repent or turn back to Him.
Just how messy is life? Everyone’s life is messy with sin to some extent. “As it is written: ‘There is none righteous, no, not one’ …for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:10, 23 NKJV). “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us” (1 John 1:8-10).
As assorted were the evil lives previously of the Christians in first century Corinth, they became “saints” and “the church of God” (1 Corinthians 1:2). The apostle Paul said of them, “And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:11). One becomes a Christian – a child of God – by conforming to the declaration of Jesus Christ, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved…” (Mark 16:16; cf., Acts 2:38; 22:16; 1 Peter 3:21). When a Christian sins, he or she must repent and pray (Acts 8:22). In addition, Christians who “…walk in the light as He [Jesus Christ] is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7). Lamentably, life is messy and frequently burdened with many regrets, but there is a solution – a divine resolution available.
“Messy.” American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2022.
“Messy.” Dictionary.com. New York: Random House. 16 May 2023. <https://www.dictionary.com/browse/messy>.
“Messy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary. Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster. 16 May 2023. <https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/messy>.
“Messy.” Urban Dictionary. 16 May 2023. <https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=messy>.