I’m honestly ashamed of it; I don’t always enjoy sharing about it; I wish I could have skipped it, but don’t we all have things we are ashamed of? The important part is I have learned and, in the end, it has all been for the better.
Once upon a time I returned home. I picked up the Bible one day and couldn’t put it down. Jesus’ words in Matthew cut me all the way through my heart. It wasn’t long before my life began to change in revolutionary ways. It wasn’t long before pride and arrogance set in as well.
I don’t remember if I could see it at the time, but I doubt it was with as much clarity as now. I honestly felt like I was the only one, like no one sought God, like I was the clear-cut example of holy, like “if everyone would just try as hard as I do” the Church would be who she’s supposed to be.
At some point God had enough and let me face an old enemy by myself . . you know, since I was so holy. I don’t remember exact dates, but I estimate that now, 3-4 years later, He had mercy and walked me back out of the mud pit I played in for so long. There’s no way I can communicate the pain, suffering, and shame I’ve gone through during that time. However, I can tell you the result.
I’m not holier than everybody else. I don’t set the standard. There are tons of folks who follow Jesus closer than me. The best part is that I have learned compassion and grace. I recently had a chance to play guitar with, sing, and just listen to a friend who is just getting started on this road. He virtually bared his soul, and I was able to look him in the eye and catch at least a glimpse of what Jesus sees. I could honestly tell him that I’m no better, that the only difference is I’ve just been on the path a little longer, that he can’t expect everything to change overnight, that there’s no need to try to “get it together” before serving Christ, and that there is hope.
For the Kingdom’s sake, I thank God for all the pain I felt that one life might be changed. A few years ago I would have despised my friend for not leaving it all behind in a day. I would have thought that just maybe, if he tried hard enough, he could aspire to me at some point.
There’s a passage I taught on a while back, in one of the Thessalonian letters I believe, which speaks about us being comforted not just for us but for others who need it. (I don’t take the time the look up a lot of references because, frankly, nothing is stopping anyone from digging for themselves, unless they cannot put hands on a Bible which I would be glad to assist with.)
The point here is that it may be years before you can see it. You may never see it. BUT, there is PURPOSE in your pain. Somewhere down along the way you might speak words of life to someone out of pain and shame you have experienced.
Chin up my friend. You’re made for great things. You’re special and valuable.
If you’ve got time, scroll down and leave a comment; I love hearing from y’all!