Friday, August 30, 2013

A Misunderstanding.

Day 29: What do you think people misunderstand the most about you?

It took me a while to muster up the courage to share this.  I am afraid that my intentions for writing this post are going to fall flat.  I don't want this to be taken the wrong way.  It will be kind of funny if the post about what people misunderstand about me is misunderstood.

Before you read any other part of this, read these five words and take them to heart: Without Christ, I am broken.

Okay, here goes.

A perception that I receive from people I don't know well is that I am "good."

Usually, I get this from strangers when I am talking about Jesus.  They'll say, "Yeah, I get that Christ forgave your sins and all that, but it's different when you've never actually done anything.  It's obvious you grew up as a good, Christian girl.  Of course He can forgive you.  But you have no idea what I've done."

Once, when I was in high school, I was talking to a few friends.  One of them was kind of in my circle, but we weren't very close.  We were all talking about our quiet times, so I started to say how I had been awed that day by the vastness of the grace of God.  My friend kind of laughed, looked at me funny, and said, "Wait, what do you mean?  I know you haven't done anything that bad to deserve grace like that."  When I started to protest, she shook her head and said, "Don't try to argue with me.  I know how innocent you are.  You're almost perfect."

She could not be more wrong.  Her skewed perception of who I was left me feeling ill and confused.  On one hand, I was thankful of the transformation that the Lord had brought to my life.  I was growing to look more like Him, like 2 Corinthians 3:18 said, and people could see that!  On the other hand, I hated what she said.  I wanted God to get the glory for who I was becoming, because even if she did not see it, I knew very well the brokenness of my own self.

The most frustrating misunderstanding that people have about me is that I haven't done anything "bad" in my life.  That I've sinned at some point because everybody does, but that I've never truly sinned, that I can't understand someone who has screwed up, and that I can only relate to the life of a good, Christian girl.

Let me set the record straight now.

I have been broken, shattered, tangled in the mire of my own sins.  I know what it is like to be lost.  I have also been redeemed because of the endless and matchless grace of God.  I have been forgiven.

I have made mistakes.  My mouth has spoken hurtful things, lies, cuss words, denials about my Creator.  My hands have hurt myself and others.  My heart has been fractured by the sinfulness that I fell into because no part of me on my own is good.  Not even a little bit. 

I have tasted the darkness of depression.  I have felt thoughts of suicide and hatred and loneliness.  I know what it is like to crumble under overwhelming shame.  I so deserved to be punished by a just and holy God.  But He took my place.

I have glimpsed the glory of one who sent His only Son to die for a wretch like me.  I don't know why He chose to love me, but He does.  I don't know why He gave me joy, but He did.  I don't know why He would forgive me, sacrifice Himself for me, make me clean, forgive all that I have done, but He has.

Without Christ in my life, I am nothing but filthy rags.  Without Christ in my life, I was so very broken and yet He still loved me with an everlasting love and drew me with unfailing kindness.

Now I may live filled with joy and hope, but it's not because I'm good.  It's not because I fixed my life or because I'm a nice person.  No, it's because the Lord redeemed me.  I am righteous in His sight because of His astounding mercy, not because of anything I have done.  Every ounce of love in me is because He loved me first. 

Never think that you are too bad for God's grace.  You are loved.  He desires to call you His child and His bride.  He desires to redeem you.

I am not good, but I have been called righteous by a God who loves me out of His compassion alone.  And I do like to talk about that. 

"Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool." -Isaiah 1:18

Two years ago: Changing Priorities

1 comment:

  1. Emily, this post helps relieve some doubts and concerns in my mind about you. I've already told you that it's been hard for me to keep from thinking that you're too good to be real. I don't mean good in the sense of doing good things. Part of what I mean, for example, is the wisdom I sometimes see in your posts. I wondered for a while if you were a fictional character created by some group of people with a lot more training and experience than a person your age could possibly have. This post provides a possible explanation of how you could actually be real.

    I've also worried that it might not last, that with more experience with the real world you might eventually lose your faith. I've wished that I knew what to say or do to help prevent that. This post suggests to me that you already have experienced the real world.