When I look in the mirror, some days I see a person who looks pretty good. But other days, I see someone who is far from perfect. Jacob’s oldest son, Reuben, was also a mixed bag.
Good news? Reuben was furious and wanted justice for his sister Dinah when she was raped. Bad news? Just a short time later, he felt it was okay to take his father’s wife to bed!
Good news? When his brothers wanted to kill Joseph, Reuben righteously nixed the plan. Bad news? He later abetted those brothers as they planned a cover-up; for over a decade, Reuben never confessed that Joseph was alive.
Good news? When Joseph demanded that the brothers bring Benjamin to Egypt, Reuben offered up his own two sons as surety for the life of Benjamin. Bad news? When Joseph earlier threw his brothers into prison in Egypt, Reuben passed the buck; he blamed his brothers for not listening to him and thus bringing calamity on the family.
How about you? Are you a mixed bag?
In Leviticus, God asked His people to be a picture of purity: They were not to eat things that had mixed characteristics…creatures that lived in the sea but didn’t swim, things that had wings but did not fly. In Proverbs, the Lord called His people to be just, not using two sets of weights that could cheat others. In Rev. 3, the Lord blasted Laodicea for being neither hot nor cold. He wanted to vomit the lukewarm mixture out of His mouth.
Our God calls you and me to be holy even as He is holy. Why? Because we are made in the image of God and, as ones who carry His image, we ought to reflect His pure character to the world. We cannot mix justice with injustice, purity with impurity, love with hate.
As we begin the season of Lent, take some time for self-examination. Where do you find elements in your character that distort people’s understanding of God’s nature? Name those areas, confess them. Then, and only then, can God’s Holy Spirit restore your character into the image of His perfect Son, Jesus Christ. Now, that’s good news!