On Wednesday I blogged about my favorite radio pastor, Bob Coy. I should have also posted a disclaimer. See Bob is a sinner, saved by grace. His stories are often of racy topics of his life in Las Vegas. He worked in the casinos, and also sold and used drugs. In one of his sermons he shares how after he first became a Christian he quit using drugs, but still sold. He thought this was okay, because he was tithing on the income. I love this story! He truly was drinking spiritual milk. He was a new believer, following God and tithing...on his drug money! He had not yet experienced the spiritual "solid food," but God met Bob right where he was, and now he is a pastor.
See, I too am a sinner saved by grace. My blog focuses on the saved by grace part, but doesn't mention the sinner part too often. Like Bob Coy, I have a history. I never lived in Vegas or sold drugs, yet my background isn't just filled with stumbles, but with falls. Being raised in a home by an alcoholic, prescription drug addict mom didn't offer a lot of direction, and I made mistakes and had poor judgement.
Unlike Bob Coy, however, I am not ready to share my testimonies of failure with you. While Jesus has separated my sins as far as the East from the West from me, I still fear rejection because of them. I remember many years ago in a bible study group I was leading, I shared something (I don't even remember which "testimony" it was!) But afterwards one of the women said to me how surprised she was with what I shared. She said I was "so young and seemed to have it all together," leading a bible study group, walking the walk and talking the talk, that it was surprising to hear that I had feet of clay like everyone else.
I don't remember whether she sounded relieved or disappointed by my "feet of clay," but I do remember that it didn't feel good to be on the receiving end of the comment. I don't want to be judged by my past but by my present. Yet, even Jesus in his own hometown was judged by those who knew him before (even perfect then)..."Isn't he the carpenter's son?" They were incredulous that Joseph's son, who they'd watch grow up in the carpentry shop, now claimed to be the messiah. They knew him "back then." I wonder what those who knew me in my late teens and early 20's would say. "Who does she think she is? Isn't she the one who...?"
So I admire Bob Coy. He is willing to share his past, so that sinners like me know that they too can be saved by grace. And maybe one day I'll be able to share my testimonies. Until then, I know that I have a heavenly father who accepts me, past and all...even when I can't offer myself that same grace.
1 Corinthians 3:1, 2 -- Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly—mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it.
Matthew 13:53-57 -- When Jesus had finished these parables, he moved on from there. Coming to his hometown, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. "Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?" they asked. "Isn't this the carpenter's son? Isn't his mother's name Mary, and aren't his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? Aren't all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?" And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, "Only in his hometown and in his own house is a prophet without honor."
Romans 5:8 -- But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.