Every so often a question brings out something worth sharing widely.
A poster called "The Wander" started a post with the question, "What reasons would you give me for becoming a christian?"
I read through the answers given and was struck with how much my answer has changed in the past few years due to my experience of the Gospel in my life. So, I thought I would share it on my blog to hopefully reach more people.
Here is what I wrote:
My answer to this question is so very different now than it was for the first 40 years of my life. Being raised an Adventist, studying theology, becoming a pastor and leading from the pulpit for 15 years - I knew the answers and could sit and chew the fat with the best of them. My Bible and I were best of friends and we lead many people to a greater understanding during those years.
Then I fell into sin. Not that I wasn't a sinner before, I had just lived with a hedge around me. That hedge had been built by loving parents in whose house I was raised. That hedge had been prayed into place by my mother and maintained by a love in my heart for Jesus and the stories of His Word. But, that hedge can be climbed over. And I did.
When I fell it was because I had piled-up, in my mind, a litany of doubt that went unanswered for years. I knew the answers I would receive - because I had espoused them for years - So, I didn't ask. I didn't ask questions or ask for help. I was afraid. I didn't want to loose my job or my reputation by verbalising my doubts and admitting my struggles.
I read a lot. Very few authors believe exactly what the reader believes. I love this! So, I was being stretched for years but not being able to test these thoughts - iron sharpens iron - with Adventist leadership because I was sure they would fire me. Which they did, but for sinning, not for asking questions. (Although, at my firing, I was told by the conference president that other pastors with similar doubts would be rooted out and dealt with. I've yet to see this inquisition enacted - thankfully!)
Questioning God is not sin - as we learn from the oldest story in the Bible, Job. But letting those questions drive a wedge between you and God is a sure sign that the sin which is always knocking at our door is about to make its way inside. And it did.
I committed adultery. For a short few weeks, at the pinnacle of my doubts, I threw caution to the wind and let Sin take over. It was discovered quickly and when I was confronted, I admitted it. And I was fired.
On the way home, I prayed and confessed my sin to God. And yet, It wasn't until I got home that the full weight of my sin hit me.
My wife and I went for a drive. I confessed to her, told her I had been fired, the adulterous relationship was over, I had confessed my sin to God and then sat silently. Her next line is what has lead me to my new answer to your question "What reasons would you give me to be a Christian?" There is only one reason.
My wife said, "What are we going to do?"
I was dumbfounded, humbled, desperately hopeful and in agony. That word. I said, "We?"
She said, "You're not getting rid of me that easy! We are in this together. God put us together and we are going to face this together. I'm not about to do this alone unless you tell me you don't want me."
"You forgive me?" I asked.
"Absolutely!" she answered, "I love you and love is about forgiving."
And, that is my answer now to your question. Love. God is Love. And God's kind of love is not the world's kind of love. God loves with an everlasting love that seeks to forgive. Reconciliation is God's goal for humanity. To make all things right is His game plan. He doesn't have a backup plan. He forgives.
So, my answer to your question is: The good news of Jesus' act of forgiveness - while we were yet sinners - is why I am a Christian. I am a follower of Jesus because His followers practice His forgiveness and lead others toward Him. Anyone who is brought to Christ will see the Glory of God the Father. And in experiencing the embracing love of God, you will become a follower of Jesus, too. His Love is Compelling!
I am in Christ, forgiven. I am loved. And there is no greater place to be.
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