I know, pretty special right? I should really get some PR buzz out of this one. Actually, I didn’t come to the planet with that knowledge. I arrived with the ability to throw Frisbee with either hand and a unibrow that just won’t quit, but the makeup tip is something I learned fairly recently.
A friend told me actually. She’s one of those smart, sassy southern grandmothers who just says what’s on her heart, all the time. And she did at dinner one night with her new pastor.
Dining with he and his wife, she had a casual conversation about God. The pastor however, pulled out a list of his rules when it comes to faith. One of them was about how ladies shouldn’t wear makeup. My friend listened patiently, looked at the pastor’s wife and then replied, “I hear your makeup rule, but here’s the thing. Your wife wears makeup, it’s just a natural shade and lighter than mine. So at this point, we’re not arguing about faith, we’re detailing pigmentation. You don’t believe makeup is sinful, just certain types of pigmentation.”
She makes a compelling argument and I think it’s one that applies to more than just makeup. I think all too often we Christians manufacture “new sins.” We add verses and chapters to the Bible of our own creation. We edit and get wrapped up in really small things in the name of faith.
I think we’re terrified of grace.
I think we’re frustrated by grace.
I think we’re confused by grace.
It’s unlike anything else we’ve ever experienced. Grace doesn’t play by our rules and we get really mad that we can’t control it. We want to categorize it or box it up and squeeze it into a formula. But we can’t. It’s too big and messy and raw and uncontrollable, so we do what we always do when faced by things that feel out of our power, we clean our rooms.
Like a college student who on the night before a final finds a million reasons to clean their dorm room instead of studying, we clean our metaphorical rooms. We avoid writing the big paper and wrestling with grace by worrying about makeup and dancing and a million little other things that make our faith seem really little and manageable.
But grace cannot be managed.
I wish it could because things would on the surface feel easier but it can’t.
And I wish I could tell you which little things mattered and which were insignificant, but I can’t. But what I can tell you might matter more.
We don’t serve a confusing God who makes us climb mountaintops or tunnel through the crust of the earth to figure out scraps of what matters most. He comes right out with it. In Matthew 22, a Pharisee asks Jesus what the greatest commandment is. Here is what Jesus says:
“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
I forget that sometimes. I do. I get tangled up in things that are small because sometimes I have a very small ability to handle grace. But the more time I spend with God, the less I think makeup matters.