Every day we make millions of decisions. We think about what we are going to wear, who we are going to talk to, how we are going to act, and if we are going to live each day with meaning. I look at my life and I wonder how I am living. I look left and see success and I look right and I see suffering. How can we live in such a world that we project success and glamour to all but in the bag we have baggage, pain and suffering? I think that it all has to do with our daily decision to follow something bigger then ourselves.
We look at so many celebrities and people in our lives who have gone through a lot and we can’t help but point out there flaws and say that they deserved what happened to them and that we would never make the same mistakes that they have. We are so quick to judge others and so quick to put ourselves in a state of superiority. We look at the world around us and say that we are better than the sin, shame, and filth that surrounds us every day, when, if we are honest with ourselves, we are holding things in that we hope no one will find or see. We look at prostitution, murder, and addiction and say that we know better than to do those things, but every day we struggle with lust, anger, and envy. How do we fight this? How do we be honest with ourselves about our struggles while also not acting that we are superior? The answer is having a relationship with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
A pastor a long time ago told me something about sin that has stuck with me my entire life since. He told me that in the eyes of the world we rank sin on a scale. We say that it is ok to lust a little because it’s not like I’m sleeping around with random women or its ok to get angry every once in a while because I would never go murder someone. But God views our sin drastically different. He used an analogy of sin as a check mark with chalk on a big board. He doesn’t look at the individual sin itself and judge us by our failures but he looks at each sin as a mark and that a sin is the same regardless of what it is. This has been so eye opening to me because it causes me to not go out and judge others based on what they have done because I am no better than them regardless of what they have gone through. Everyone has gone through experiences that they regret and wish they wouldn’t have experienced and they don’t need another person telling them how messed up they are and how bad they have messed up.
This is so challenging though and is something that I struggle with daily. I look at family members and friends and judge them based on their experiences rather than looking at how far they have come. When we begin to look through others in that lens we can begin to see how amazing and impactful everyone story is. It doesn’t matter if you have been raised in a family that went to church every day or not at all, once you come to faith you have a beautiful story of redemption that is only possible through the blood of Jesus Christ. We are not here because of our works but only by God’s work on the Cross. When we look at this we can see that no matter what we have gone through in the past we can use to bring others to Jesus Christ because I can almost guarantee that someone in either your friend group or community is struggling or has struggled with the same thing that you have. When we learn to give our lives to God every day we learn that our sin that used to push us to put on masks and hide the truth can be turned to allow us to share and be open about our faith.
It took me 19 plus years to figure this out. So much of my life, I have kept so much suppressed within myself for many reasons. I felt that I didn’t need to burden others with my problems or they wouldn’t understand because they aren’t going through the same thing as I am. But over the last 2 years, God has blown those ideas out of my mind. He has showed me that if I am willing to take a leap of faith and say that I am a sinner and that I have struggled with lust, lack of confidence and shame that he will bring people into my life that will either help me break free from these things or help me have health conversations about struggles in our own lives. I was lying to myself for so long that I was superior to others and that I was not committing this sin or that that I was a “Good” Christian, when in actuality there is no such thing as a “Good” Christian, there are only “work-in-progress” Christians. The second that you think they you have everything figured out you have reminded yourself how much you need Jesus Christ. Our work on earth is only completed upon arriving in heaven. We are never to act as if we have it all figured out because we will never help others through their problems. Just be real for a second and think about how you came to faith. I can guess in most cases it wasn’t something that someone forced down your throat and said if you don’t follow this you are going to burn in Hell and that you are the worst person ever. But instead you were coddled by someone who truly loves and cares about you and walked alongside you through your times of questioning and lack of faith. We must take this same approach to those around us. If we look at others with hatred we are only pushing a relationship with God farther away from them. I wouldn’t want to be a part of a faith or religion that says that judging others is how we bring people to faith. The only true healer is Jesus Christ. He is the only one who can break chains that rehab and counseling can’t break. He is the only one who has and ever will know what true agape love is. We must try our best to follow in his footsteps. If we are not loving as he has first loved us, how do we expect to show those around us what true freedom and joy looks like?
It is the cry of my heart that today we will begin to love more than ever because our world needs it more than ever. God has given us all a perfect opportunity to show the world what true love is as long as we are willing to trust him. Our world is so broken and everyday people are leaving there faith to pursue earthly desires that will eventually fade away. What if today, we stood up for our proclamation of faith and say that instead of turning our back on those who have made mistakes or who are considered untouchables to come to faith, we look to love them and let God work through us. Think about those people in your life that you could never see coming to faith, why not let God use you as a vessel. It might take years but wont in be worth it when we sit in heaven and are able to worship our Lord and savior together with those who we thought had no hope.
If Jesus would have lived his life the way that many of us do today, including myself, I can easily say we would not have the 12 disciples and his ministry would have looked a lot differently. Jesus surrounded himself with broken flawed humans who he knew were going to let him down but he looked past those faults because he saw the impact that they were going to have on our world. He saw the billions of people that would come to faith through the churches that they would plant and said that it was worth being betrayed and hung on the cross because some day we will sit in heaven together and worship the same God forever. How beautiful is that!
I am flawed and broken and I need you. Today I rise and chose to follow you because of what You accomplished on the cross. I know that this isn’t the life that the world wants me to follow but I know that earthly things shall fade and you will be the only thing that stands firm. I ask that your hand of forgiveness falls on me today because I am broken without you. Help me to view my sin as an opportunity to help someone who needs you. I am nothing without you so help me to view others as equal to me and that as long as I have you anything is possible with Christ. Make me a light for change in this dark world. Help me to love the least of these and those we have labeled as untouchable. Nothing is impossible through you Lord and I pray that I hold that near and dear to my heart because that can have eternal implications. You are good Lord and your love and mercy is so powerful. I love you will all that I am. In your holy name I pray,