Indulge me for a minute, please. I want to ask you a very pointed question. When you committed your life to Christ, did you do it just to receive His gift of grace? Or, as a friend of mine recently said, is it just a “fire insurance policy?” Believe me, I’m asking myself this question today. I’m asking a lot of other questions of myself too.
I ask this for a reason. I’m not trying to push buttons or anything like that. I just really want to share my heart with you. I’m no better than anyone else. In fact, because I know what goes on inside my head and heart, I sometimes think I’m the worst of all. So this isn’t meant to “bring conviction” or anything like that. I just want to share what’s in my heart today.
I have a friend. We’ll call her “Jenny.” Jenny is a nice woman with a bright future. She’s smart, funny, talented and more. Jenny is not a Christian, doesn’t attend church, doesn’t have many Christian friends. But Jenny is curious about Christianity. We spent a good bit of time in conversation over the last few months and she asked me several direct questions about my faith. “Why do you believe that Jesus could save you?” “Why do you go to church?” “Why do you say you love those people when they’re so mean? Is that a Jesus thing too?”
I’ve always answered her questions honestly, but didn’t push her into visiting church with me. I asked her on several occassions to go with me, but she never did. Now I’m wondering if she ever will. Recently, she met several Christians and they were very mean to her. She didn’t like the way they talked badly about other people and said something about it, so they ripped her to shreds (metaphorically speaking, of course). She had sincere questions about why some Christians act one way while other Christians act the opposite way. Now she’s not asking anymore. Now she’s not talking at all. She won’t speak to me anymore. She is hurt and angry. I can’t say I blame her. And I’m thinking that any chance I had to be her friend and to show her the kind of love that Christ gives…that chance could possibly be gone now. So not only did I lose the chance to minister to someone, I lost the chance to have a good friend that I enjoyed spending time with.
I’ve learned a lot from this situation with my friend. I could be wrong (I’ve been wrong before), but chances are pretty good that my friend doesn’t read the Bible. I’ve learned that I might really be the only Bible someone sees. And how I behave DIRECTLY affects those who are not Christians. If my friend knows that I am a Christian, but I don’t show love and mercy, then naturally she will think that Christians are unloving and merciless. If I behave maliciously or offesnsively, then of course she is going to think that these are attributes of a Christian.
But maybe, hopefully, the opposite is true too. If I show love and mercy, kindness and goodness, gentleness and joy, maybe she will see that these are attributes learned from Jesus. Maybe she’ll want to know Him like I do. Maybe she’ll want to talk about it with me again. I don’t know. But I’m hopeful. I take comfort in knowing that the Lord doesn’t begin any good work that He’s not willing to see through to the end.
Back to my original question…..I asked myself that question. I know that when I was first saved, I was so grateful for what Jesus did for me (and totally amazed that He did it at all), that I wanted to know everything there was to know about Him. And so I read the Bible, went to church, asked questions. The biggest answer to all my questions was this….LOVE. Jesus said that the greatest of all the commandments is to love one another the way He loves us. So that’s what I committed my heart to…..loving others. It’s not always easy, I’ll admit. Sometimes I have to lay my own agenda to the side so that I can genuinely love somebody. I’m not always successful. But I keep on trying.
After going through this with my friend, I know I need to step it up a notch. It’s time to realize that the world is watching. Yes I will still mess up. Yes I will probably let somebody down. But if anybody knows I am a Christian, they will be watching to see how I live. I need to be concious of that fact and remember that my life is a walking testimony. What that testimony is, is up to me. I would like for it to be a testimony for Jesus Christ.
“Jenny,” if by some miracle you see this, please know that I miss talking to you. I know you are hurt and angry and that’s okay. I would be too. I am not angry with you for anything said to me and I will not ever bring it up again if you don’t want to. But I am here. If you want to talk, if you want to goof off. Whatever, whenever, I’m still your friend and I still care about you.