Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore. Hebrews 13:13
Here’s why it is so important for us to go outside the camp and bear the disgrace Jesus bore. Without that, people will get the wrong idea about us and about what a Christian is.
Our lives are the canvas on which the gospel is painted. Will our picture tell the truth about ourselves, or will it lie? Will people see us as people like them who struggle, fail, do bad things, make mistakes and need forgiveness, or do they see us as a group that is too good to be part of? If you share in His disgrace, then grace makes sense. If you have no disgrace, then who needs grace? Christians who are doing just fine don’t have a message. Grace only makes sense to the disgraceful.
For as long as I can remember, Christians have tried to make a good impression on others for the sake of the gospel. Our commendable lives were supposed to give us the opportunity to point people to Christ. Turns out our “commendable” lives only drive us further away. We present ourselves as someone no one could ever to be. If our message is Christ, others need to know why we need Him, and they’ll know that when they see us for who we really are. So forget the impression; grace works among the disgraced.
And grace is present-tense. It isn’t something that you needed yesterday when you became a Christian. Grace is something you need right now this minute because without it you are such an a-hole. You know it and those around you know it. How much you need grace right now is the most important part of your message. Your story stars Jesus. When you bear the disgrace He bore, He is the one who gets the credit for the grace you have received instead.
When you are the star of you, no one gets anything but you. When Jesus is the star of you, you are turning grace outward. Your story — my story — is all about bearing the disgrace He bore and turning His grace outward.