Friday, July 06, 2007

Still Struggling with Sin

I had always heard that Christians were hypocrites because they looked down upon anyone who struggled with sins that they didn’t struggle with. You rarely heard them judging anyone who struggled with the same sins they were (currently) committing, but if you did, they would minimize their own struggles by explaining that God was patiently molding them. I didn’t know why they didn’t just show the same grace to others that God gave to them. Wasn’t that part of the reason God showed them that grace now rather than after they got to heaven? I did know some Christians who actually extended grace to everyone regardless of their flaws. They seemed to really understand that God wants us to love others like He loves us. I remember wondering if they worshipped a different God than the rest of the Christians.

I actually do have one of those dramatic life-change conversions. I used to be a drunk and a drug addict. I cut myself for over a decade, dabbled in the occult and used to manipulate people to get my way. I was a little bit confused after I accepted God’s gift of salvation. I no longer felt like the drugs had such a strong hold on me, but I still struggled with other sins. Wasn’t I supposed to be to be able to control those things now? I guess I hadn’t understood that we don’t physically turn into little sinless “Christs.” When I had seen Christians judging others, I had assumed they no longer struggled with sinning anymore and that once I accepted salvation, I wouldn't either. I hadn’t realized that this dirty flesh that I’m caged in keeps the Light from shining through sometimes and that I have to work constantly to keep my mind focused on pure things and to keep my attitude aligned with that of a servant.

I am still friends with some of the people I knew when I was going through all my drug use and self-injury. They never fail to mention how cool it is to see how I have recovered. On the outside, I know my new lifestyle looks very different from my old. But even though they cannot see me struggling anymore, it doesn’t mean that I don’t. I have a whole new set of things I struggle with now like respecting my husband, keeping my tongue tamed and being patient with my young children. Though these are not as obvious as being a drunk or an addict, I know God still sees them.

My identity as a sinner reminds me of my human-ness and my desperate need for a Savior. The only reason my conversion story is so dramatic is because I was so far away from God in my past. If you have a more humble story, God bless you! We all serve a powerful God who has a dramatic change in store for us. From sinner to saint. From lost to found. From death to life. What could be more extraordinary than that?!

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