I am a Christian. I love Jesus. And I’d like to be able to say that I am a poster child for what a Christian should look like, but I can’t.
I do pray. I do read my bible, although not as often as I should. I help others. I tithe of my money, time and talents. I’m an over-all good person.
I make mistakes. I am not perfect. I don’t claim to be.
I make poor choices. I do things I know I shouldn’t do.
I also(usually) admit those things. I don’t really hide too much. (I know, I know…you’re all shocked by that.)
So I guess what makes me so mad…no, sad really is when someone who appears to be a Christian is down-right, intentionally mean.
I know we all have our prejudices, but I try really hard not to be judgmental. It’s hard sometimes. REALLY hard. But I do try. I also try my hardest to be open-minded and open-hearted. (Yes, I know that’s not a word. But it should be.)
It’s been years since I first read Phillip Yancey’s book “What’s So Amazing About Grace?“, but there are so many things in that book that re-surface in my mind when I need them most. One of the passages that comes to mind often is this(which can also be found in his book “The Jesus I Never Knew“):
A prostitute came to me in wretched straits, homeless, sick, unable to buy food for her two-year-old daughter. Through sobs and tears, she told me she had been renting out her daughter—two years old!—to men interested in kinky sex. She made more renting out her daughter for an hour than she could earn on her own in a night. She had to do it, she said, to support her own drug habit. I could hardly bear hearing her sordid story. For one thing, it made me legally liable—I’m required to report cases of child abuse. I had no idea what to say to this woman.
At last I asked if she had ever thought of going to a church for help. I will never forget the look of pure, naive shock that crossed her face. “Church!” she cried. “Why would I ever go there? I was already feeling terrible about myself. They’d just make me feel worse.”
“Church! Why would I ever go there? … They’d just make me feel worse.”
Is that really what we want? I know I don’t. I want church to be a refuge, a safe haven. I want to be able to find a love like no other; an acceptance, a peace among others who may be very, very different from me but love me none-the-less.
But for many people, I know that just isn’t true. And I hate that. And I want to know what we, what I specifically, can do to change that. I know that you can only build a house one brick at a time. But I’m ready to start building.
Sure, we’ve all made mistakes. I just recently found out that years ago I was mean to another girl at church. I don’t remember it, but she does. (We’ve talked about it, and we’re cool now.) It hurts me that my thoughtlessness hurt someone else so badly that they still remember it 15 years later. And sure, I’ll probably make mistakes like this again. But I hope that my awareness will make me think about my actions before I act, think about my words before I speak.
In the same book, Yance quotes a counselor(David Seamands) as saying:
Many years ago I was driven to the conclusion that the two major causes of most emotional problems among evangelical Christians are these: the failure to understand, receive, and live out God’s unconditional grace and forgiveness; and the failure to give out that unconditional love, forgiveness, and grace to other people. . . . We read, we hear, we believe a good theology of grace. But that’s not the way we live. The good news of the Gospel of grace has not penetrated the level of our emotions. (Emphasis mine.)
I want to live a life full of grace. Who’s with me?