Just returned from my High School reunion back in Philadelphia. We had such a wonderful time and I enjoyed being reunited with my amazing friends – especially my best friends that I still remain in touch with and continue to do life beside. Each reunion, I’m in charge of “check-in” and I enjoy and look forward to my designated post. I get to welcome all that walk in the door and hand them their nametag. Although, we have a graduating class of almost 600, I pride myself of knowing and recognize almost everyone who enters – probably because I used to socialize with my peers and talked to everyone and anyone who would listen. (I know those of you who know me find that very difficult to imagine!). I had so many great conversations and lovely visits during the pre-party the night before, the party, and the after-party. And, I could post every day for weeks sharing many funny stories as we waxed poetically over many memories with these inspiring friends. But there’s one conversation, which I took to heart.
I was talking to a good friend of mine who I’ve known since 6th grade. He’s a person I occasionally keep in touch with over the years and consider someone I can trust – a guy of character and integrity as well as a wonderful father and husband to his beautiful family. He was telling me that he reads my blog, but that at times it’s hard for him to think of me as Christian when he vividly remembers the free spirited, risk taking, fearless, wild, energized girl who did this and that in her past (I would gladly list specifics, but my parents are my most loyal readers so I will spare them the details – although I’m sure they know more than they like to admit!). I smiled and listened, and said, “But, I do self disclose some of my failures and imperfections in my posts.” He agreed, reiterating that I do allude to my pitfalls and that does help. I would have liked to continue a further and deeper dialogue, but we were abruptly interrupted by the chaos and excitement of the evening.
On the flight home I started to unpack his words. He made a fair and valid point that provokes much pondering. He made a comment many want to make to many Christ followers. How can we, as Christians, claim to follow the God of the universe with all of our imperfections and inadequacies? Now, if I were to tell you that my sin was instantly alleviated, disappeared into thin air, I would be a big, fat liar! The fact is, Pre-Christian I was a sinner. I made mistakes. I made stupid decisions. I took too many risks and had the tendency to be wild and care free. As for my Christian life now? I’m still a sinner. I still make mistakes. I still make bad decisions. I take too many risks and have the tendency to be free-spirited. You see, I have the same temptations and challenges that have always caused me to stumble. Fortunately for me, for all of us, there’s a God that allows for my redemption, renovation, and transformation, the same God of grace and mercy and Agape love who cares about me more than I deserve.
My very wise pastor teaches, “Good people DO NOT go to heaven, FORGIVEN people do.” In other words, our laurels can’t lead us to eternal life, but our hearts certainly can. After all, even after we confess Christ into our life, aren’t we all still the same sinner?