If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. – 1 John 1:9
So I had bus training yesterday and today (Monday and Tuesday). It isn’t the funnest of ways to start my school year, but it is necessary if I’m going to keep driving a school bus. Anyway, I met a lady at the training today. We happened to have attended the same church, just at different times and under different preachers. Somehow, we got onto the subject of how people change for God, or rather, how God goes about changing people.
I remember after I got saved that several well-meaning (I think) Christians told me all the things I needed to change since I was now a Christian. I don’t know why, but it always just made me angry. In many cases, I even knew they were right, I just either didn’t like being told by them what I needed to do, or I didn’t think they had the right to tell me what to do in the first place. Whatever it was, I would always leave thinking, “I hope I never come across like that.”
Here is the interesting thing: Many of those things, I would go on to change . . . just like “those Christians” told me in the first place. The closer I got to God and the more I studied His Word, it was like He was telling me personally . . . not necessarily in words, just in a way that I understood. When it came from Him, I wantedto change. When it came from other (what I felt like were) pharisaical Christians, there was just no way. I guess I just wasn’t in a place to hear it from them.
The point is, I think, that we need to be super-careful the way we come across as Christians. My fellow bus driver trainee and I talked about this for a while. For example, just because you’re convicted to wear certain clothes or dress a particular way gives you no right to project your personal convictions onto others. You can ask them why they wear what they wear, but it can’t come off as condemning or condescending whatsoever. It is just very likely to leave them thinking, “If that is a Christian . . . I don’t ever want to be one.” This simply should never ever be the case.
This world provides an infinite amount of opportunities to offend people. I could log onto Facebook and find 10 people who just love to start feces (this is a Christian blog) in the first hundred posts. Here is the thing: some of them call themselves Christians. In John 17:21, Jesus actually prayed that we would be unified as Christians. He went on to say that the world would actually believe as a result of our unification. How awesome would it be if we all just realized our personal need for Christ, went after Him, fell in love with Him, let Him do all the convicting in our hearts and minds, let Him do all the changing in our lives, and stopped trying to make other people these mini versions of ourselves. Everybody doesn’t have to have the same convictions. Everybody doesn’t struggle with the same sins. Each person has plenty of his or her own junk to deal with. Just point them toward Christ and His Holy Word and let the Holy Spirit do what He does best.
Clean us up through regeneration and sanctification.
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. – Galatians 2:20