Just a mere eleven years ago, I spent my twenty-first birthday in a strip club. I wasn’t the stripper, but I might as well have been. My husband had to actually pull over on the way home that night so that that the contents of my stomach could be left at the side of the rode. My life had really spun out of control. I was deep in sin. We both were.
Most people would have said at that time that we were really “good people.”
I know a lot of “good people.”
We didn’t have kids back then, we were just two young adults living in a world of escape. Society would tell us that, that was okay and expected, just kids being kids. I would say that it wasn’t okay, I wasn’t just a kid being a kid, and I was completely lost. I was hurting. I was troubled.
Christianity is hard to comprehend for those on the outside. I’ve always known the Lord, I just wasn’t dedicated. I never really felt “good enough” for Jesus. I was ashamed. A large part of the confusion surrounding Christianity today, is the mass amounts of Pharisees.
You know the people right? They come to church in the best business clothes, they like to hear a message that approves them as upstanding citizens of humanity, they like to pride themselves in being a good Christian. They like to use that pride as a nice stool to look upon the “real sinners” as something lesser. Oh they might throw some money at the “sinners” of the world every now and then, you know to help them feel like they are doing their Christian duty.
My friends, that is not Christianity. Those Pharisees of the modern church are the ones who would shut the doors of a church to someone dressed immodest, they would never allow or welcome wholeheartedly anyone addicted to heroin, and they most certainly would not welcome a homeless man into their lives like a brother.
So what does that do?
It shuts people out. Lives are being lost, and I am not content with a faith that has lost it’s salt. Jesus would never have stood for this. You want to know how I know?
17 When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
Jesus said this as He was sitting down with the whores, the drunkards, the addicts….He said this out of love for ALL people. Not just the people who can look pretty and say hallelujah.
Shortly after Andy was born, I hit my knees on the ground one night. I had my coming to Jesus moment. I finally felt the weight of the guilt of my sin, the shame of my secrets, and I was drowning. I knew that at that moment, I was going to give my life over to the flood of a horrible past….or I was going to take a huge leap of faith.
Me. Sitting on the floor in a pair of shorts that were way to short and a shirt that wasn’t really covering much, asking Jesus to forgive me of the wretched and horrible things I had done. I didn’t look like a Christian, I SURE didn’t act like a Christian, but I wanted…no I needed Jesus to forgive me. I needed to be good enough for Him.
Peace washed over me. I had committed some of the biggest sins against God in my time, and I cried every single day, until that night. That night, I felt peace and my heart felt a little less heavy.
Was it a quick fix, found Jesus and life was all peaches and cream?
I have spent the last eleven years trying to learn how to be a Christian, how to forgive myself, how to forgive others, and how to live in grace. It ain’t easy, but for the first time that night….I had hope and I could breathe a little bit.
The Pharisees would never have given me a chance to have a life in Christ. They would have continued to look at me the way that I used to look at myself, and I would have never received that one little (huge) moment of peace. That one baby step forward that lead to the most amazing transformation of life.
I’m still working on me. But not to try to be a good Christian. No, I’m trying to live a life that would please Jesus. Not a life that would please the Christians. I want to be a welcome place for the drug addicts, I want the stripper to see love and hope in me because of Him.
Do I just think sin is okay and that there are no consequences to a life lived in sin?
But I do see the sinner as someone sick, like me, who NEEDS the ultimate physician. I need to be the nurse that welcomes them in no matter who they are, that gives them triage, and helps them wait for the Doctor. I need to be a light to them and hope that one can rise from the darkness.
Eleven years ago, the girl that was me got sick, and eventually she died. In her place is a new woman that lives with the memories, but now she uses them as a source of strength to live a life in Christ. She no longer needs them to live a life that needs escape and self-induced punishment.
Jesus came for you who are sick. He loves you. Nothing that you have done could ever change His love for you, and trust me when I say this, the freedom that is in Christ….it truly is like fresh air.
I am free to breathe because of Him.
I didn’t have to drown anymore under the weight of what had been done to me and what I had done.
Thank you Jesus.