BY LEANN DILBECK –
Do-over! Do-over! Remember those from school days? Wouldn’t it be great if they applied to adult life, too?
Sadly, sometimes as Christians, I don’t think we afford those opportunities to others as much as we should. We all fall short but watching others fall short and then permanently condemning them to never have a place in the church seems to come far too easy for many self-professed Christians.
But isn’t it interesting that some of God’s great messengers were not found in palaces or on pedestals? I love an example that Jon Acuff gives that really puts all of this into perspective. Of course, his point was for us to not feel held back by our pasts but my point is that it is absolutely crucial for us as fellow believers to encourage these testimonies and not forever condemn them. Acuff’s example: “God found Gideon in a hole. He found Joseph in a prison. He found Daniel in a lion’s den. He has a curious habit of showing up in the midst of trouble, not the absence. Where the world sees failure, God sees future. Next time you feel unqualified to be used by God, remember this… He tends to recruit from the pit and not from the pedestal.” So, why can’t we… as fellow Christians, who should be loving like Jesus loves, encourage those delivered from those pits… and see that God’s greatness, His mercy… and His grace… can have an incredibly relevant and powerful testimony that can be used to pull others from depths of the pit. Because, let’s face it, we have all found ourselves in our own “pits” at one time or another in life. All sin is equal in the eyes of the Lord but we, in our own very unbecoming self-righteous manner, have a way of prioritizing it. And, while some people’s “pits” are more visible than others, don’t think for one minute that just because yours may have not been on public display, that the good Lord above didn’t see you in it.
We think of pits as dark and dirty places but consider this. The Enemy is very cunning. One of the ways he can attempt to rob you of knowing God’s grace is by leaving you alone… allowing you to have no adversity and feel as if you have the world by the tail. Allowing you to build a sense of overwhelming pride of how great you are and how self-sufficient you are… with your hand full of rocks inside your glass house but remember this, our faith grows when we are tested with adversity… our Savior’s grace and mercy is the brightest when we are in very dark places. As the prophet Isaiah wrote, “He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed.”
Who do we think we are to have the right to permanently condemn others? To not allow them the opportunity to share their testimony of God’s grace because of “where they came from?” Sometimes Christians get so busy telling everyone who they are but if we have to TELL everyone that “we’re donating to this cause or that cause,” or “volunteering at this and that,” or “teaching here and there,” all at the same time that we are condemning this one and that one, we have done more harm to the Christian faith than good. May our life preach more loudly than our lips.