I have been reflecting on my past relationships. I wonder if I could have glorified God better in those friendships. I wonder if I lived out the Gospel well during those times.
I often think back to my best friend in 5th grade. We had so much in common and we did everything together. I remember the day she told me that she became a Christian. She said she wanted to be Christian, and after talking to God, she was now “saved.” Unfortunately, I was neither encouraged or delighted to hear this news. I told her that she couldn’t simply become a Christian just because she all-of-a-sudden decided to (not quite sure where my logic was here…). I had made following Jesus an elite club with membership that even my best friend had to work to be a part of.
I mourn when I think back to this experience. We are no longer friends. We no longer have much in common. The most heartbreaking part is that we do not have similar beliefs in God or about Jesus. I can’t help but feel ashamed and guilty for missing this opportunity in my selfishness. Thankfully, God is bigger than my mistakes.
If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. –1 John 3:20
I tend to question if my failures to walk with Christ serve as a catalyst to someone else’s heart growing cold toward the Gospel. Since most people know that I am a Christian, I feel like my flaws are magnified and my mistakes are judged with higher cost because I am associated with Christ. The truth is everyone needs Jesus. The difference is that Christians (hopefully) recognize their need for Jesus as their savior. If you place expectations on people, Christian or not, you will eventually be disappointed. Because we all fail.
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. –Romans 3:23-24
I am actively learning that I can not carry the responsibility for someone else’s salvation. I have been told that I can not change one’s “soil type” as Jesus talks about in Matthew 13 in the parable of the sower. I need to recognize my limits and let God be God. I need to live out the acceptance that God is greater than any action that I could ever do to truly show Christ’s love to somebody.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. –Proverbs 3:5-6
People see the mistakes that Christians make very clearly. But what is overlooked is the evidence that Christ accepts everyone and pardons them when they mess up by the blood of Jesus. When we feel we are not representing Jesus well, we are actually proving His sovereignty. I posted these verses in the last entry, but they are so good:
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. –2 Corinthians 12:9-10
His unconditional love for us is revealed–whether we choose His way or ours, whether we suffer well or not, whether we choose to have joy in Christ or embrace bitterness. His love is independent from what we do.
I know I have not served the Lord in all of my past relationships but I pray that I am more intentional with this in the friendships to come. I pray for wisdom and for the ability to learn from the past. Praise the Lord that He is merciful! He does not hold my failures against me and loves me as if I were perfect in His sight. God will be glorified through our mistakes. Praise the Lord!
Let my life be a thank offering unto You Lord. Amen.