I read an article that made my heart really heavy. An article about a ex-pastor who got arrested for smuggling marijuana from Mexico to California.
Now, I know for a fact this man has been dealing with other issues, and he has made some unwise choices in the past that affected many people. His family and friends suffered pain and some consequences they shouldn't have had to deal with.
I heard he was doing better, but I'm guessing (only from that newspaper article) that he is still making unwise choices.
Two things saddened me about the article;
1) I imagined the emotional pain his decision caused his wife and kids.
2) How this affected people who don't understand or have a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Not only will his choices affect those closest to him, but also those he will never meet.
No one in the church is perfect, but our lives were changed, and we are the walking testimony of Jesus work in us.
The truth is...the church is built on a bunch of sinners. Some of those in the church have done things that you don't even want to whisper about in the dark. Jesus chooses people not because of who or what we do, but because He loves them.
Christians are sinners like everyone else, who are saved by the grace of God.
A day came when we believed in what Jesus did for us and became Christians.
A Christian on a daily basis has a decision to make. Follow after Jesus.
It is a personal decision.
Someone can receive the gift. Study their Bible. Go to church. Yet, not let the relationship grow. A person can still live their life the same way as before they believed and choose not to listen or follow Jesus.
A person has the choice to get as close to Jesus as possible or just show up.
Ever have a relative that just "shows up" at the family get - together? It's the only time you see that relative and besides the customary "hi" and "bye" no connection was made?
Still the person is a part of the family. The person isn't invested in the family. The person doesn't really care what the family is doing and is living life their own way.
Yet the family continues to invite the relative. The family continues to reach out to the relative.
I have an uncle I haven't seen or talked to since I was little. He is still my Uncle. He still holds a special family place in my heart. And I would love for him to be an active part in our family.
A Christian can not be as connected as the rest and still be a part of the family. Jesus will continue to reach out to that person.
We live each day battling against our sinful nature.
There is Jesus way and there is my way.
If an argument happens;
Jesus way - a gentle word turns away wrath - let no foul word come from your mouth.
My sinful nature way - heated words, sometimes foul words.
Someone is my enemy;
Jesus way - bless them - pray for them - LOVE them.
My sinful nature way - curse them - grumble about them - hate them back.
Someone hurts me;
Jesus way - FORGIVE them as I forgive you.
My sinful nature way - Uh let's not go there....
Get the drift.
The cool thing is, it's not that hard to do things Jesus way when we stick close to Him and let His Spirit lead us. The more we read His Word, the more we love Him the more we love His way, it becomes easier and easier, because His love changes us.
When I was young I called myself a Christian. I didn't live anything close to the road Jesus has me on now. It took me a long time to climb up over the rocky terrain to figure out I was walking on a path that caused me and those around me a lot of pain.
One day, I heard Him calling me, and I took His hand, my feet were planted on a new path and the view was completely different. I clearly saw I had been going the wrong way. I was so badly beaten up and a lot of people around me were too.
On the new path, I healed, became stronger, and grew each day in the knowledge that God loves me.
Some time's my feet slip. Some day's I even skin my knees, but I don't want to step off this road I am on now.
Going back to the article, I hope this man will find the Jesus way path and walk the way Jesus planned for him to walk.
I don't just pray this for him. I pray this for you too.
Maybe you are walking on a path that you think is the right one, but it's not the best path. It's not the path Jesus has designed for you to walk from here to heaven's glory.
I hope you get on that path. And I hope each day you learn the wonder's of communing with Him and seeing things that only He can show you.
And most of all, that you will be awed at how much you are loved. He loves you like you have never or ever could experience outside of His love for you.