Back in February of 1996, I became a Christian. I was raised Catholic - not a practicing Catholic, but we went to church for weddings, funerals, and occasionally on Christmas or Easter. When we moved to NC, we had some friends invite us to church - a Baptist church. The experience was amazing and changed my life.
Here's the thing that some people don't get: Being a Christian does not equal being perfect. God works on each of us individually, he grows us in our faith individually. When I first was saved, I had a mentor who told me "Hold on to your hat" because basically, life was going to get harder. That's another misconception about Christianity, that now life is going to get easier because you have the Lord on your side. Not true.
Being a Christian in an un-religious family, has not been easy. Being married to a man who does not go to church is not easy. Raising two children - one who loves going to church and one who does not, is not easy. But I have to remember that I have to take responsibility for ME and who I am - I can be an example to others with my faith, but I cannot force people to change.
I still curse. I still get angry. I still offend others. And you know what? GOD KNOWS THAT! One of the first Christians I had ever met was a really nice woman. She lived a very conservative, faith-filled life. Years later, she left her husband because he was not wealthy enough to make her feel secure. She met another man at the gym or somewhere and started a relationship with him. He had money, he makes her feel secure. She left her husband. I had lost touch with her by the time this happened and only heard about this situation through mutual friends but what shocked me the most was that NO ONE attacked her faith. No one seemed to remind her that her behavior was not something that would be pleasing to God.
Okay, but then one could say that sin is sin - there is no degree of sins. You can commit murder of cheat on your spouse and though popular culture would say that murder is the bigger crime, in God's eyes they are equal. So my cursing and bad behavior are just as bad as committing adultery. That's kind of eye opening, isn't it?
Do you know what makes me feel better? Is that God loves me. He knows me, he knows my heart. I don't read my bible every day, I haven't memorized the Scriptures but you know what? The church is FULL of people who do and have that are horrible human beings! Reading your bible or being able to quote Scripture do not make you a good person.
It's been a long running discussion in my house about people who go to church. Frank doesn't like to go because he feels that the church is full of hypocrites. He's right. No one can argue that but many try. What is important to remember, well several important things to remember are A.) Who are you there for on Sunday mornings? Are you going to church because of your faith and to learn more about God and having a relationship with Him or are you there so that people will see you? While it is great to see friends on Sunday morning or perhaps have lunch with them afterwards, but if that is the only reason you are in church, you've missed the boat. B.) the church is just a building. Being in there does not make you a believer and finally, C.) What are you like Monday-Saturday? Are you the same person 7 days a week or do you act one way Sunday morning and another the rest of the week? Do you have a church voice that comes out once a week? If so, you're missing the point.
In the past people have said to me that I was not a good Christian. My words offended them and therefore I could not possibly be a good Christian. I would have been hurt by the words but God tells us that we will be persecuted because of our faith. The ones who have said that are not Christians, they have no idea what it means to be one. Their view is that if you are a Christian, you should be meek, quiet and basically be a doormat to humanity. Um...no. I will have to answer to God for the things that I have done, I accept that. I don't really care about someone else's opinion of my faith. It's none of their business; that is between me and God.
At the end of the day, I am so thankful that I HAVE God in my life. I am thankful for the family that I have through Him. I am most thankful that He brought me to North Carolina and in doing that brought me to Him.
That's my preaching for the week. Thanks for listening...God Bless!
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