By Libbo Crosswhite
Ah, sweet summertime. Being in the education profession has offered me some much-enjoyed free time. A good portion of this time has been consumed by my slight obsession with HGTV’s Fixer Upper. Chip and Joanna have captivated many of us by taking the “worst homes in the best neighborhoods” and completely restoring them to these beautiful, shiplap-filled dream homes. I so desperately want to be as effortlessly cool as Joanna, but settle for being as endearingly obnoxious as Chip.
Clay gives me a hard time because now I walk into people’s homes and he can see me start drawing with the blue little marker in my mind the walls that can be torn down and wondering if there are hardwood treasures under any carpet. Mary Thomas has begun bargaining with me by saying if I do something for her, she will let me watch “the house show.” How kind.
I think part of my fascination with the show is my innate joy in watching these old, dilapidated homes become completely restored into these stunning, brand-new creations (and filled with pretty things that my kids would break in approximately two minutes.) My adoration of the show also stems from the fact that there is no doubt that I am a fixer upper at heart.
And how grateful I am that Jesus came to totally tear down the conditions of our sinful hearts and transform us from the ground up. The more that I get to know Jesus, the more I want to have His zeal for restoring His people and loving HIs church well.
We tend to have this picture of Jesus like he was this politician kissing babies and shaking hands—that he was delicate and meek and never raised his voice. That he was basically on a goodwill tour for his 33 years of ministry and gave the side tilt and “bless your heart” nod as he encountered the people He came to save.
But, I think John 2 paints a much different picture. Don’t get me wrong, Jesus came to promote peace and hope, but He also was very clear about how He felt and, for that matter, how we should feel about the complete destruction of sin.
It was just after the wedding at Cana where Jesus had performed his first miracle. The Messiah was on the move and the end of John 2 details the encounter that Jesus had while walking in the temple. He saw that His people had cheapened the relationship with God with their religious rituals. They had insulted the Creator with their financial bargaining and their cheap offerings. And what did Jesus do? He flipped the tables over. As if to say, “No, no, no—you’re doing it all wrong. You have missed the point.” Jesus came to fix the very foundation of the church.
But here’s the thing: Jesus wasn’t just flipping the tables over because of the people; He flipped the tables over because of sin. Far too often, we allow ourselves to point the finger and hate the sinner and yet aren’t nearly as harsh toward the very nature of sin. The truth of the matter is that sin is what caused the people to diminish the church.
Through His death, Jesus gives us the power to flip the tables on our culture that is far too often getting it wrong. Flip the tables on sin—the very root of our brokenness. Flip the tables on the need to appear perfect and on hypocrisy and hate.
Hating sin rather than condemning the sinner—that’s where I often have a hard time getting it right. Jesus wasn’t simply accusing and pointing out the people’s flaws. No, he was bringing to light the darkness of sin so that the people could begin to have their eyes opened to the need for a Savior. And until we hate the sin that lives in ALL of us, we will never fully be able to love and advocate like Jesus did and continues to do.
I’m certainly a fixer upper, but I want to be a table flipper, too. What if we put our rocks down and ran towards people who are broken, hurting, and downright sinful? Sin has lost. Christ has won.
May we live each day in victory and may we have the same zeal for sharing the restoration that can only be found in Christ with all those around us. Let us not grow weary in sharing our own fixer upper stories so that the kingdom can continue to be united under the grace that is found at the cross.
Libbo Haskins Crosswhite and her husband, Clay, live in Brandon and attend Pinelake. They have one daughter, Mary Thomas, who is 3 years old and a son, Russell, who is 11/2 years old. She is the high school guidance counselor at Madison-Ridgeland Academy.