In his book The Ragamuffin Gospel, Brennan Manning says that, "The bending of the mind by the powers of this world has twisted the gospel of grace into religious bondage and distorted the image of God into an eternal, small-minded bookkeeper."
How do we break from this idea that our relationship with Jesus is one of great freedom and deep affection rather than one that paints the picture of a business transaction: "Ok,, Jesus. I'm going to make myself perfect, and then we'll hang out. Cuz i'm pretty sure that you wouldn't want anything to do with me otherwise..."
How do we break from religious bondage into spiritual freedom? We break from bondage by knowing who we are and Whose we are. It seems to always come back to those two truths.
The lies are that we have gone too far, waited too long, or not done enough to receive love. The lies then tell us that we have to make up for lost time, earn rights to or somehow work hard enough to be received and accepted.
For all the lies that there are,they are countered by one truth: That's just it: we can't do anything. We can only be--be who He has invited us to be. We are His beloved children, honored guests at his banquet table, and heirs of the kingdom. Nothing we do creates distance between ourselves and Jesus. It's our flesh that tells us there's a rift. We have the Holy Spirit dwelling within us...always.
In the New Testament where Jesus was known to dine with sinners and tax collectors, the word kalein is used--the Greek word for invite. The craziest thing about this word is that it implies that these were guests of honor. Honor! Those considered outcasts and scum of their societies in that their time were invited as honored guests in the presence of Jesus.
Let's be honest here. Grasping the depths of this is freakin' hard. We can and will spend our whole lifetimes being blown away at the ginormousness (yes, I just used that) of His grace.
We are not ostracized from the grace of love of God; we are guilty of ostracizing ourselves when we believe the lie over the truth. Not only does He pursue us, He takes joy in doing so.
"Never confuse your perception of yourself with the mystery that you really are accepted."