Wednesday, February 06, 2013

What do you do?

Elspeth wrote on Traditional Christianity about what to do after you've done something wrong.

Do you hide it and treat it as irrelevant to the arguments you present?

Do you broadcast it for everyone to hear knowing that what is said can not be unsaid, knowing that it will be used against you be better men than yourself?

What do you do?

My opinion is TEACH.

Without telling her story for her, I'll simply say we have made similar mistakes.

I was born into a Christian home - I often claim that I never had a "moment" where I accepted Christ ... I always knew God existed and loved me. I'd sing to him from my crib while looking at the morning sun. Learning about Christ and his sacrifice for the first time, it was just common sense to me that God would do something like that for me and so I accepted it without question.
I was die-hard about my faith. I wasn't the preaching kind, more like the quiet, bible reading kind who answered questions posed and was nice to everyone. My catch-phrase was "Be Nice." One of the boys in church made fun of me for it.

As I got older, I gained this stigma among my friends - I was "holier than thou", a "goody-two-shoes", an insecure little girl who thought she needed to earn God's love. I was too young to really have an answer for them then, but I know I wasn't proud, I didn't think I was better than anyone, and I obeyed God simply because I loved him. Not because I felt like I needed to earn his love.
Christian friends pushed me aside because they thought I was too judgemental - you see, they kept failing and they didn't want it rubbed in their faces. My non-christian friends embraced me because I wasn't judgemental. They all knew what I believed and how I felt about what they did, but they saw someone willing to love them anyway through me.

For a long time, I knew what it was like to be good. Where everyone falls short of the glory of God and doesn't deserve Grace, they were just words to me. I had done my best to follow God's rules and knew what mistakes I made were forgiven.

Then I turned 18. And its like a floodgate opened. I did things I shouldn't have, I made serious mistakes that left me broken, depressed, bitter, angry, hurt, confused, and rebellious. And I kept making the SAME mistake.

Through the pain and healing, I found myself in a unique position that can only come from God's grace, mercy, and love. A way for God to use my hurt and pain to serve HIM. I have the unique ability to see both sides of the Prodigal Son parable - the view of the one who left and the one who stayed behind. God can use me to teach. He can use me to teach my daughter about the difficulties of following God - but how worth it it is. I can give encouragement, empathy, and compassion.
I know what Grace is. And I know that life is not this pristine and perfect stained glass world the church can try to make it. I know life is not always something to smile about and that just because you "got Jesus" that everything is not hunky dorey now. It's messy, confusing, hard, distressing. Its nitty gritty and we rarely emerge from it unscathed. And that is why we are given the balm of Gilead. That is why we are presented the savior on the staff - who all we have to do is look to Him and be healed. Those who have been the Edmunds in life (Chronicles of Narnia) are more adept at teaching to a broken crowd who are desperate for their aching hearts to find rest.

Where I would never counsel someone to experience life in this manner - obeying God from the get-go is so much more preferrable to this - those who have lost everything and found Christ have been given a special gift in their testimony to the world.

They are the Pauls of ministry and not to be dismissed.

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