Tuesday, July 11, 2017

#34: I'm Just a Person

I am a person--just a person like anyone else--an imperfect person who has made mistakes, who has hurt people, who has failed others, who has made wrong decisions, who has screwed up. That's me. I have done all those things. And, as a person, I have cried, felt guilty, had remorse , been angry, experienced disappointments, been abused, suffered both pain and grief, become bitter and resentful, and taken my feelings out on others. Yes, that's me too.
But, I am something else.
I am a Christian. A Christian is an imperfect person who has made mistakes, who has hurt people, who has failed others, who has made wrong decisions, who has screwed up. 
Both a person and a Christian--a Christian person. 
The reason I am a Christian is because I discovered that Jesus was also a person who lived in this same place that we do--was hurt, deceived, rejected, scorned, laughed at, mocked,  abused, and ultimately killed. He experienced joy, friendship, grief, anger, disappointment, rejection, betrayal, agony, pain, and even death-- the same feelings and experiences that all of us go through as we walk this earth. But,  his reaction to all the insults that were hurled at him, to all the disbelief, to all the resentment, to the lies, to the ignorance, and to the betrayal  was to love, was to have compassion, was to forgive, was to heal. While he was here, he taught us, he loved us, he was patient with us.  
We have the story of how he lived and what he said and the promises he gave us in a book called The Bible. In it we learn that He sacrificed himself for me and for you by dying on a cross so that you and I could have, not just salvation, not just heaven, but a relationship with him every day and a way to live this life, while we are on this earth,  with freedom and joy and peace . And, He wants to be our friend. He wants to be our family. He loves me. And, he loves you. 
The way I became a Christian is by realizing that I am not perfect, that I have screwed up, and that I want something different. I want the freedom and joy in living that Christ teaches about. He said, 
"The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows]. John 10:10AMP
I found that the way to get that kind of life is to believe  that Jesus is who He says He is, to ask Him for forgiveness for the things I have done (and often still DO) wrong, and then to ask Him to help me to do them differently. That's just a prayer, directed to the person Jesus, asking Him to come into my life and change me. 
He's right there, ready to listen, when we ask him:
"Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me."
Rev 3:20 NIV
You may think that kind of freedom and acceptance won't work for you.  Well, it did, and it does, for me. God says,
“I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?”
— Jeremiah 32:27
I decided to believe Him and Take Him at His word.

“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16 NLT

I am writing this today so that you may know, undoubtedly, where I stand and what I believe. I stand with Jesus, my friend, my Savior, my brother. My Lord. He gives me peace and purpose and joy. I love Him, and I want more of Him every single day. 

New Living Translation
"For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes--the Jew first and also the Gentile." Romans 1:16

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