“It is quite interesting that I grew up similar to you but I have the exact opposite feelings….I am so thankful that I went through it because it made me a very strong person and when I see all the ones today that “fit in”, I would not trade my life for one of them. I see people that are alcoholics, addicted to drugs, divorced multiple times, abandonding their children…and the list goes on. My Dad has been a wonderful christian example to me and he told me that the trash floats with the stream…how true…I love being different. Anybody can be like everybody. Maybe this wasn’t for you and if you feel that you have missed out than that is more than likely the case. I have held professional jobs in a Fortune 500 company and had more people respect me for my beliefs than you can imagine….even met my future husband there who said I caught his eye with how I always dressed like a lady…different. At that time, he was a complete sinner with no religious background and even he could tell the difference. I am a very common sense person and to me this works. When something works, you generally stay with what works. I guess my feeling is…if you are finally now “free” and feel like you are happy now that you “fit in”…..why would you run someone down that cannot even defend why they had on linen, white shorts? I just cannot see the spirit of Christ acting in the way I see people on the BTS site….so if you were a fly on the wall and sad you could not join in……I am glad you finally found a place you “fit in”…life is too short to be miserable…another great quote from my Dad. May God richly bless you.”
I received this comment a few days ago on one of my posts. As I read it, my heart became heavy. I moused over the “approve” and hesitated. Something seemed to hold me from doing so. I signed off and still the words lingered, staying with me. I pondered over them and tried my best to empathize.
It was not that I didn’t know where she was coming from, I most certainly did. I had been there. I have been “different” all my life. Separating myself from the things and people of this world. I looked down on others who were not like me. I too was proud to be different, I was not ashamed of my skirts. I prided myself, when men opened my door and treated me like the lady my appearance demanded. I raised my nose at the “worldly” girls with their jeans, short hair, and makeup. I knew I could be like them in a moment, but they, they could never be like me.
I am reminded of one of Jesus’ parables:
“Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” -Luke 18
Jesus, friend of sinners.
“And as he reclined at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners were reclining with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. And the scribes of the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” – Mark 2
The words, “the trash floats with the stream” rang in my mind. “Trash.” I have been called that before. There is no lower feeling of unworth. They are not words you forget.
“Alcoholics, addicted to drugs, divorced multiple times, abandonding their children…and the list goes on.”
Mary, called Magdalene, Joanna, and Susanna, women cured of evil spirits and diseases.
The woman at the well, did she not have five husbands, and living with yet another? Yes, these were “trash that floated with the stream”,
Then Jesus came
“for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.”
I am the least, and He tells me He loves me anyway. He picked me up, cleaned me, and made me better than before. A new creature. I didn’t deserve it, I couldn’t earn it, He gave freely and I accepted. Remember, “And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.”
Next time you see trash floating with the stream, share the good news, give them a cup of cold water. Whisper a prayer for them. Remember no little boy desires to be a drug addict or alcoholic when he grows up. No little girl wants to play the harlot. You don’t know what storms they have walked through, but you do know who controls the storm.
When my Jesus walked on this earth He healed the trash like me. He called them by name and He fed them. He gave His life for them.
When you begin to think you are above everyone else, that you are someone or something, and you start to thank God you aren’t like the rest, That is when you neglect to see we all came from the same dirt, We are all born into sin.
We are now His body and His members, so let us do as Jesus did. Let us not be found as the Pharisees, but let us go down unto the stream and tell His children He loves them. Just like He loves you and me.
“Oh Jesus, friend of sinners
Open our eyes to the world
At the end our pointing fingers
Let our hearts be led by mercy
Help us reach with open hearts and open doors
Oh Jesus, friend of sinners
Break our hearts for what breaks Yours”