This was an eye-opening post from Jamie the Very Worst Missionary. I don’t always agree with her, but I have a habit of reading people I don’t necessarily agree with just because in my disagreement I might learn something. She has guest-posted an article at the POTSC (People of the Second Chance) website and it got me thinking. Here’s an excerpt:
The setting sun cast an orangey-pink glow against the dirt-bag SurfWind motel. A couple of hookers and a drunk lingered by the corner of the building and a guy leaned against the flag pole with a cigarette.
Enjoying a happy ending smoke, I suppose.
I joked, “If herpes was a color, it’d be that orangey-pink.” But my friend stayed quiet in the drivers seat. Stupidly, I kept talking, sharing my disgust for the scene outside my window, “You’ve gotta be some kind of desperate to pay for sex. Who does that, anyway? What kind of guy uses a hooker?!”
“You’d be surprised…” is all he said.
And I assumed he was talking about the mayor of San Francisco…or Kevin Bacon, or something.
But that moment in front of the SurfWind motel came back in a flood of understanding a year later, when my friend said he needed to talk and I found him lying on the floor, just a pile of tears and snot, and I heard his confession through his sobs. As it turns out, he was that guy, the kind that uses hookers.
He was married, he was a pastor, and he was right – I was surprised.
Later, I sat talking with a group of women while we sipped coffee and nibbled the ends of crispy cookies like emaciated wannabe super-models. One of the women started a little rant against abortion, and the other ladies clucked and nodded in approval. “Who does that?” she raged, “What kind of person murders an unborn child?”
I glanced from one face to the next, hopeful for signs of Grace and Mercy, when I finally settled on the president of the PTA sitting across from me, her brown eyes rimmed with tears. Very quietly, as if whispering a secret to her steaming latte, she answered, “You’d be surprised.” But the chatter of the soccer moms had already moved on to important things, like who saw the last episode of “The Bachelor”.
How many times have I put my foot in my mouth? How many times in my pious, self-righteousness judged with the wrong presumption? I may not verbalize it but I think it.
People are broken and people are messy. You know how I know? Because I am too.
We all have pasts and we all have present struggles. But we have a future glory! God has forgiven us and He wants us to live for Him.
We are made free in Christ . Free. Really free! And that includes the freedom to sin and mess up, big time. Now before you get all legalistic on me let me explain:
Because we are new creations in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17) we are forgiven and secure in our salvation( Colossians 3:3), there is nothing that can separate us from Him. So when we blow it and mess it up big time, He doesn’t withhold Himself or keep us from coming to Him. He doesn’t send lightning bolts from the sky or break our kneecaps, but rather reminds us of His love for us and calls us back to the cross. Being free means you can do whatever you want. But to enjoy our freedom to its fullness we must also depend on our relationship with Christ.
Paul says “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase?” ( Romans 6:1) No. We are to strive for holiness. 1 Peter 1:15-16 calls us to be holy. But someone needs to explain to us that when we’re called to be holy or sanctified, that it doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a process. If something that we keep trying until we’re dead. Our perfection comes at the day of our completion; when we see Jesus face to face. That’s when we will have arrived!
Too many people believe that when they become a Christian that they shouldn’t sin or struggle with sin anymore. That once you accept Christ , magically, your automatically changed and you no longer have to deal with sin. So when they do mess up big time, they quit trying to become holy and say “The heck with it! I can’t do it, so I am giving up!” But holiness is a process, and on our way to being like Christ we have the freedom to mess up but also the freedom to repent. Paul says in Philippians 3:12 “Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.”
So many people are living in the guilt and shame of their past. This is not God’s plan for them. God never uses guilt and He doesn’t accuse. Satan is the accuser (Rev 12:10). His m.o. is to keep you from your process of holiness and does so by reminding you of who you were or what you did.
Remind Him of who you are! If you have put your trust in Christ and confessed yourself before Him, you are no longer a sinner but a saint! You have been made righteous. You are a child of the King! You have been adopted by the Perfect Father! You are His. Free to be who He has called you to be!