I have found that after Lent, it is has been difficult to reintegrate back into the world. I knew it would have to happen at some point, but it seemed to take me a little longer this year. A friend pointed out to me that it was time to get out of the desert and back into the glory of Easter. But for some reason it seemed more comfortable to stay in the dark.
We all have different agendas, even Christians who may say they are writing for God’s glory but may only be writing for their own. I had to parcel through all that after spending the last four years discerning God’s call on my life. Our statuses, our vocations in life are sometimes simply not acceptable to us. We imagine we may be doing or being something else and reject the notion that God knows better. I got some good advice yesterday to read my bible, so I did. The advice wasn’t intended as a friendly gesture but a mockery of me as a Christian, as in Go run back to your little bible. And although the commentary from a person I once knew was cruel, I realize that so many people are hurting. I wanted to say maybe we can read it together. Some atheists have suggested that our love as Christians can come from within ourselves, that we don’t need a God to love in that way. But there is no other way to love someone who clearly hates you. Only Jesus can provide that unconditional love.
So I did, I did read my bible and found this.
“Whoever sees me sees the one who sent me.” John 12:45
Jesus said that. The meditation I read that accompanied it from the Word Among Us said this,
“When someone stayed with Jesus long enough and got to know him better, they saw beyond his unassuming experience.”
So that prompted my question, Do we stay with Jesus long enough? and Does Jesus care if I bring coffee?
So I thought that it might be ok to bring coffee into my prayer closet and think about these things. We talked about root causes and ulterior motives as to why we want to help or do something. We reviewed my schedule, my blog and the things I was doing for God. He didn’t chastise me or tell me what to do. He didn’t tell me to read my bible. He made me look at myself and ask these hard questions, are you doing it for me or for you?
Again the Word Among Us struck me today with its meditation. It talks about Paul telling his conversion story and telling it to different audiences. Depending on who he was speaking to, he would change his perspective and his words. As the meditation puts it,
In all these tellings to Jewish hearers, Paul portrays God preparing his people for the Messiah. But when he preached to Gentiles or mixed audiences, he tended to stress the way the chosen people rejected Jesus, opening the way for God to fulfill his plan to bring salvation to the whole world. (Click here to read the meditation in full)
It bothered me that Paul would change his words depending on his audience, but why? I went back to that it’s ok to have coffee and talk to me conversation. I realized it bothered me because I was doing the same thing. The meditation says that “he shaped his story in a way that would benefit his readers or listeners.” While I do think that’s true to some extent, I think Paul also had an agenda. Behind the backs of the Jews to a Gentile audience, he threw his own people under the bus. Hey they made way for you, they don’t want Him so now you can have Him! I don’t think Paul said it so much out of out his love for God as He said it out of his hurt and pain and anger at his own people. It didn’t make what He said wrong, it just shows that he had feelings.
I realized that over the last several posts I have done the same thing. There were those “agendas.” God let me write because I have free will. So I tried to tell my conversion story yesterday about why God’s plan was greater than mine. I tried to tell it to an audience I assumed was mostly Christian and would understand my perspective. The post was sparked by three things, an article I had read the day before which discussed the leave your cubicle culture, a combination of years of these types of articles which comment on motherhood and the work culture and the series Thirteen Reasons Why which I am binge watching.
I realized when I sat with Jesus, Paul’s words, the meditation and the thirteen reasons I write, there are some posts, some days I write my love story to God in words that may be offensive to someone who doesn’t know Him. Like Paul, I realized that I was a certain way to my audience as he was to the Gentiles. But what if there was one Jew there who heard Paul say, Look what the Jews did! I imagine that person would feel hurt and not loved by Jesus and may walk away from what may have been a salvation story.
So now that I am mindful that I hurt that one person out there who may have left a 9-5 job and created their own start-up, I am deleting the previous post. I am also deleting the post before that. Not because of the harsh commentary this person sent me or because I am afraid, but because it’s the right thing to do. If this person didn’t see Jesus, but rather walked away from Him, I didn’t do my job. And I realize that I shouldn’t assume there are only believers out there reading my posts.
To “Jack”, except my humblest apologies. Christians make many mistakes. I thank you for letting me know your feelings on what I wrote because I reflected on them, and they changed me. They made me realize that there are more people out there reading what I write then I may have originally thought. I don’t want to preach a mixed message. I hope that you’ll come back and stay awhile to sit and listen to my continuing conversion story. Thank you for helping me on my journey with God.
Love and blessings-
Thanks Julie, love you.