I had a counselling session last week. During this particular meeting, the conversation eventually came to the world being an awful, fallen place. The world sucks. After we finish our session, my counselor typically walks me to the door of the facility we meet in – that way he can see if his next counselee has arrived yet. This time, as he did so, we continued the conversation and, eventually, he gave me a simple, yet profound saying to sum up what we as human beings need to do, especially as Christians: Embrace the suck.
He shared with me how this was something he and other fellow soldiers would say to each other in the US Army when things went, “tits up.” He did not know if any other branch of the military used this phrase, but he explained to me that it was in reference to combat, and those moments when there is no way to get around or out of a fight once you have engaged the enemy. It sucks, and there is nothing you can do about it but, “embrace the suck,” and fight for your life until your enemy is conquered, or you die trying, if necessary.
Our world sucks and there is no denying it, just watch the news. You will see how much even so-called adults lack maturity these days. It gives permission to our children to no longer grow up. They do not want to and, quite frankly, I cannot blame them. The old Toys-R-Us jingle has become the mantra of our day: “I don’t want to grow up… I want to be a Toys-R-Us kid.” Immaturity creates “suckiness” in a world where we can no longer teach our youth or carry on a civil conversation. But it is time we embrace the suck.
If only we would be so bold as to, “embrace the suck,” to set aside our pride. The world will never change, there is nothing we can truly do about it. What I mean is, we should embrace the suck, our sins and our faults, own it and confess it, in order to ask forgiveness from God, live in His absolution, and pronounce this same grace and forgiveness of sins to each other. To take that chance, to be weak and exposed to others, may give someone the opportunity to try and break you more, but you also give them an opportunity to practice the calling of a Christian: to forgive you as a fellow member of the Church of Christ. This is why the Church exists to begin with.
When we are willing to admit we have done wrong, begging for forgiveness from God and our fellow brother or sister we have committed the sin against, there is normally a willingness to forgive so we can move on with our lives and relationships. This is what we are called to do. We forgive one another because Christ has given us forgiveness of all our sins. If God can forgive a whole world, I think we can forgive those in our small corner of it. Like I said, this gives us the ability to move on, to continue to fight the good fight with our “brothers in arms” of the Church while we live on this side of eternity. The greatest enemy of all, Satan, death, and sin, already destroy our lives enough. Let us not help them improve their craft, shall we?
To “embrace the suck” and forgive gives us the ability to move on because we see how all sin and fall short of the glory of God. To hold a grudge does no one any good. Yes, it sucks when we sin, but already on the cross you received forgiveness for your sin! It is time to share it, to stop thinking, “I’ll teach them a lesson!” Nobody likes that, nobody. Instead, teach them a lesson about grace, mercy, and true peace. If the person is already contrite of heart, forgive him for Christ’s sake. Know you too fall short and you can “embrace the suck” of that sin and take it to Christ. After all, before His thrown you are a forgiven and justified child of God and your sin is no longer yours but Jesus’ on the cross of Golgotha.
To not “embrace the suck” is one of the reasons so many people are depressed. False perfectionism is constantly on the rise and everyone is always so surprised when things go wrong. This should be no surprise when God is removed from the equation of life. It is a constant rejection of reality. To “embrace the suck” is to admit the truth of a fallen world, where there was only one Perfect Man in all human history.
I admonish you as a brother in Christ, “embrace the suck,” for this world we live in will not change until Christ returns and completely makes all things new. “Embrace the suck,” because this is what you are called to do. “Embrace the suck,” and move on with your life. This is God’s will for you: to live life in joy and peace. Do as the apostle Paul implored the Thessalonians: to, “not grow weary in doing good” (2 Thessalonians 3:13). Do the greatest good, forgive your brother for Christ’s sake. Embrace the suck and live boldly.