God So LOVED The World.
“Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.” Hebrews 13:3
I remember the days before I was saved. I mean, I’m not so old that I have short term memory loss. It was only three years ago, but I was in such desperate bondage and I didn’t even know it. I was seeking to fill a space within me that was void.
I was crying out within myself and finding no answer for my need. No woman could fill it. No amount of alcohol or drugs could numb me completely. No amount of partying could distract me totally. Yet, for all of my need, I couldn’t turn to the One Who made the void. He made it to fit Himself, but I wouldn’t surrender.
His emissaries came by the groves. Over and over, I sent them packing. I wanted nothing to do with Christians, at least, not the Christians who were showing up. I have no doubt today that God was sending them, but they were only making me mad. How then did God finally reach me, you may ask?
Well, the judgement I was presented with had to remain behind. Most of us don’t want to be told what to do. We especially don’t want to be told that what we are doing is wrong. Why? Because of pride. I was filled with pride. I knew what I knew and I was right… in my own mind. So, to come at me and tell me I was sinning only brought up defenses and counter attacks. I was the master of turning the tables and making others cry. No, you could not approach me with judgement.
What did finally work was gentleness and humility. When my sister in Christ exhibited a change of heart in her own life (a life in which I had been a participant when we drank together previously) and introduced me to two more sisters who spoke with authority but understanding… that worked. They were kind. They knew my pain, my suffering. They spoke of their own lives before Christ, and their lives sounded just like mine. They had done some of what I did, experienced some of what I experienced. They understood me and they understood Christ being the difference in them. The love they had flowed freely. The younger was in tears as she spoke of her own life and the change Jesus made. Her joy was something I lacked and needed. My heart was softened that day, and when they began to show me in the Word where my worldview was wrong, I listened. I was not vicious in any counter attack. I spoke my belief and they calmly, lovingly, understandingly showed me the Truth. By the time they invited me to church to hear it preached, I had no more defense.
So, what worked? Love. Patience. Gentleness. Humility. Understanding. God used those girls to break down the barriers I had constructed. The void started to be filled. Eventually, I accepted the fact that I was unable to fill that void myself. I knew only God could. I surrendered and He has been in me ever since. Now, when I interact with others, I recall my life in the same bondage they are in. I remember what drew me in to, as well as what repelled me away from, our Heavenly Father. Even now, amongst the brethren, knowing that we all struggle with something, I have to remember what drew me and what keeps me. Love, patience, gentleness, humility, understanding. If God is love, then the only way I can let God use me to reach anyone is to love them. It is for Him to judge. It is for me to love, present the whole Truth, and love.