This morning’s devotion comes from Mbird friend Brent Kuhlman:

You gotta love Kelly Clarkson. “Dark Side” – what a powerful song! And the video enhances the song’s message all the more. The dilemma, of course, is whether or not you can love and stay with a loved one or friend who has a “dark side.” It recalls not only our relationship with others but God’s relationship with all of us – how we Dark-Siders stand coram Deo. The song is spot on: “Everybody’s got a dark side” “Nobody’s a picture perfect”. Indeed, not only before each other but also before God.

The intra nos look is not pretty (Matthew 15:19; Romans 3:9-18).  All the sinning and being sinned against. All the fallout. All the collateral damage shown in the “Dark Side” video: anorexia, bullying, drug and alcohol addiction/abuse, tormented minds, maimed bodies, the disintegration and destruction of the family. All the desperate but failed attempts of Dark-Siders to serve the idols called: the most beautiful body, the ideal job, the perfect marriage, or the greatest life. It’s desperately dark.

BewaretheDarkSideSo what does the Lord do with all of us Dark-Siders? All of us who are not Picture-Perfects? Is He repulsed? Sickened? Does He turn away? Leave us in our darkness to death?

No! Incredibly, He does just the opposite. He does a John 1:14. But there’s more: He goes on to do a John 3:16. That is to say, he does a very good, extra nos Good Friday! Or as St. Paul explains it: “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us” (2 Corinthians 5:21). God in Christ “redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us” (Galatians 3:13)! As Jesus hung suspended between heaven and earth on the tree, he bore the full weight and fallout for every Dark-Sider.

MAXIMUM SINNER is how Dr. Luther referred to the crucified Christ in his Galatians commentary. Dare I say it? I will: MAXIMUM DARK-SIDER JESUS is as the Lord lays on Him the iniquity of us all. No wonder, then, that it was very dark that Friday afternoon we all call “Good”. “From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land,” (Matthew 27:45).

Jesus is condemned as a criminal, and we the dark side Barabbas-ites are set free! Acquitted! Forgiven! “He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2).

So everybody’s got a dark side. Will you love me? Will you love mine? If you’re asking the Lord, His reply to us Dark-Siders is: “Take a good hard look at that Man on the pole!” Or as the blessed apostle puts it: “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us” (1 John 3:16).

His Good Friday love has its way with us, faith gives birth to love! After all, we are free to love our fellow Dark-Siders as God in Christ has loved us who are not Picture Perfects. We are given to offer our bodies in the various vocations where God has put us as “living sacrifices” (Romans 12) for those who need our love. These folks are our spouses, children, fellow citizens and church members, etc. even if and when they’re most unlovable or utterly unlovely in their dark sides.

Since I’m still in fifth gear – one more zinger. “For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins,” (Colossians 1:13). In Jesus and His promise of absolution we stand before the Lord as Picture-Perfects. This is most certainly true!