When you’re a Christian, having friends is difficult – especially unchurched friends.
A lot of Christians who really want to show love to people will have some kind of guard up when they are around the “unchurched” – a term which can mean unchurched Christians or people who aren’t Christians at all. Either way, we know that we have a lot to make up for. We know that the church, as a whole, has messed up. We know that we have a responsibility to prove to these people that God loves them through our actions.
But the fact is that we don’t understand what we are doing. The fact is that us “churched Christians” are sinners. The fact is that a “perfect person” mask is not fooling anyone.
I have some very close “unchurched” friends. This means that they see all the bad in me as much as they see the good. From a distance, I look like a pretty good person, but up close – my ugliness is as clear as the sun. Sometimes this makes me upset because I think it’s a bad testimony. But there’s one truth that I miss.
“My” testimony is God’s story. Not mine.
So it might be pretty cool for people to see that God really loves someone as sucky as they have seen me be. Because that means He will have no problem loving them too. Them seeing my “gross” is a greater testimony to God’s graceful and loving character, to be honest. How easy is it to love a flawless person? But He loves me in my worst.
Close friends have commented that they have seen the miracle of goodness God has done in me – they have seen me grow massively from the person that I once was. There is no reason or excuse to act bad on purpose – Scripture is clear about that. But the burden of perfection is not mine! It was lifted up on a cross with Jesus and died there.
Perfection was killed.
My burden is not the burden of perfection.
God loves people like me. Which is great news because it means God loves the selfish, destructive, and hurtful people too.
God loves people like you, whatever you think you are.
Though I continue to chase after God’s heart and hope that my actions become a fruit of being connected to Christ, I know that I am going to screw up. My friends, churched and unchurched, will be around to watch my wings burn out bright when I fly too close to the sun. But they will also see that Christ was with me in my sin and He surrounds me with His grace. He is with me when I am good and when I have wronged Him.
With all my heart, I hope that people will see the love of God in my heart. Not because I am perfect, but because I am redeemed in every moment of the day.
So let it be known that God loves the sinners, of which I am an excellent example.