Tuesday, July 19, 2011

My Own Personal "Shack" Part 15

Well, today, I finished reading "Blue Like Jazz" by Donald Miller. It got me to thinking about what it was that finally attracted me to Christ. I knew many people who professed to be Christians growing up, so why did it take me 20 years to receive Christ?

Good question. I'm so glad you asked :) I think I've figured it out. For many, many years I've only felt judged by other Christians. They told me that my promiscuous lifestyle was wrong, that my drinking was bad, my smoking was bad, and the drugs I used, downright evil. Now, I agree, all of those are true, but I do not believe that focusing on the unbeliever's sin is helpful. Of course, they sin. They can't help it. They do not have the power to stop sinning, and someone who just always tells you how bad you are, is not attractive. It doesn't make people want to know you. Now, obviously, I understand that a person has to realize they're a sinner to receive Christ, but deep down, I think they already know that. I remember the feeling that I was rebelling the first time I smoked a cigarette. It was invigorating, because I knew my parents would hate it. I remember having a sense that I'd done something I shouldn't have when I slept with my boyfriend for the first time. Now, how would I know that? I'm having a really hard time finding the verse in my bible right now, but I believe there is a verse in there that says that all people have God's law written on their hearts. We all have a sense of right and wrong. It's why we have laws against killing people! We know, somewhere, deep in our hearts, that it's wrong, to harm another human being. Now, when I did those things, I wouldn't have told you that I knew it was wrong. I wanted to believe that it was right, that I was right, but at a deeper level, I knew it was wrong. I don't know if I'm making any sense right now, but I know what I'm talking about :)

My point is, I'm not sure, that as Christians, it is our job to confront an unbeliever's sin. I think that's God's job and God's job alone. It just comes across as being judgmental when we do it. I think our job is to love the person, as Jesus loves them, just as they are. I realized that when I came to Christ, I had an older gentleman that sort of felt like a father figure to me, in my life. He was a Christian, of course, and he knew about the sin that I was involved in. He knew about the drugs and the sex, all of it. Or at least most of it. Enough, that if he was like most Christians I had met before going to college, he wouldn't have even given me the time of day. As it is, he didn't even mention the drugs or any of that too me, directly. I only knew that he knew, because I knew that a friend of mine, who was concerned about me, was talking to him about her concerns, and asking him to pray for me. Never once did he bring it up in my presence. In fact, when he first started conversing with me, I didn't my friend had been telling him about me, and I remember thinking, while talking to this incredibly godly man, in full-time ministry, "Do you know who I am? Because if you knew who I was you wouldn't be talking to me? At least not while actually looking me in the eye and clearly being very interested in me." It was shocking to me to find out that he knew exactly who I was, and he still loved me. He still cared about me. He wanted to know how my classes were going that semester, what my interests were. He really listened to me. He cared about me. I honestly don't remember exactly what we talked about in our conversations. It didn't matter. I was just fascinated by the fact that he cared! About someone as insignificant as me! As deeply steeped in sin as I was! Who was this man and who was his God? I wanted to know! For the first time in my life, I really wanted to know who this Jesus really was, cause clearly, this man's Jesus, was very different from the Jesus I thought I knew about! The Jesus I knew growing up, was this mean guy in the sky, waiting for me to screw up, so He could pound on me! This man showed me a different Jesus. This man showed me a Jesus that loved me exactly the way I was and cared about me. He didn't enjoy punishing me. He only wanted to help me, because He loved me. I'd never seen that Jesus before. I wanted that Jesus. I realize now that everything I was doing at that time was me desperately seeking to be loved! I just wanted to be loved! It's what everyone wants! They want to be loved for who they are, not who others want them to be, but truly who they are. In all the drugs, and alcohol, and sex, I was doing what the song says, "looking for love in all the wrong places." This man knew the one who loved me the way I wanted to be loved.

Now, as many of you know, while I did receive Christ as my Lord and Savior during that time, securing my salvation, it has taken me a long time to really begin to grasp that He really does love me like that. He really does care about me. Everything about my life. Not just whether or not, I go to heaven or hell. He cares about my life right now. He cares about my marriage, He cares about my friendships, He cares about my life, here and now. I'm sure I'll spend a lifetime grappling with this. How this completely sinless God could ever love me, of all people, like that. But He does! Wow! What an amazing God! If you've been in places where Christians have been judgmental and you don't know Jesus, let me assure you, that isn't Him. I've been guilty of this, myself. He doesn't care who you are, or where you've been. He loves you anyway, exactly the way you are! That is amazing!

1 comment:

  1. Great testimony, Shelly. Well done, well said.