Tuesday, March 28, 2006

All of My Best Friends Are Sinners

All of my best friends are sinners
by John Fischer FROM THE DAILY DEVOTIONAL I GET FROM
THE PURPOSE DRIVEN LIFE. (This was so well-said I just had to share it!)

"All of my best friends are sinners. I don't mean that I hang out with really bad people. I mean this as a way of looking at everybody, starting with myself.

When Jesus told us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves, it was a way of making us ultimately face into the reality of our own need. How we love others is dependent on how we love ourselves, and self-love has to take into account failure and sin, because we know ourselves better than anybody. We can try to cover up the bad stuff about ourselves, but that only disconnects us from the truth and makes us hypocrites, unable to love because we cannot love ourselves as we truly are.

The only kind of love hypocrites can have is a prejudiced love. Like the Pharisees in Jesus’ day who loved other Pharisees and condemned everyone else, when we are being hypocritical, we can't help but love those who are like us and abhor everyone who is not.
“Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners – of whom I am the worst.” (1 Timothy 1:15) When Paul says this, he puts himself in a position to get next to anyone. You can greet all of humanity with open arms from the perspective of knowing intimately your own sin and failure. “Over there are the sinners of the world for whom Christ died … hey, that's my group!”

A recovering alcoholic is still an alcoholic; he's just recovering from alcohol's influence over him in the company of others willing to do the same thing, so they can all be an encouragement to each other and accountable for their actions. That's the thing that's always been appealing to me about recovery groups. They are all about love and acceptance at the lowest level, and that is what we all need. These people are admitting that they have ruined their lives and are ruining the lives of their loved ones, and they are suddenly among friends who understand everything about that.

When you are trying to believe a lie about yourself, you can only accept those who have committed themselves to perpetuating the lie along with you and are sworn to secrecy about their own hidden sin as a form of mutual self-preservation. But it's all a game and we know it. How refreshing it is to come clean – to bring your life out into the open and be forgiven by God and join the rest of the human race for which Christ died.

Everything and everyone looks different once you have done this. And it doesn't matter if someone else is a Christian or not. Either way that person is still someone for whom Christ died, and therefore someone you can embrace. And why not, since all your best friends are sinners anyway!"

3 comments:

Diana said...

good stuff, auntee!
love,
dinanner

Kelli B said...

This is off the topic: but i noticed and know you are a woman of prayer.

Today in the office, i sat surrounded by three adult men who think prayer doesnt work. It only works for certain people. That God only cares about certain people. Two are atheists, one is a worldly, non-christian catholic. What is a young girl in her 20s to say to these men who think christianity is for "you christians" or "the other guys" and to men who are older than me? I just felt so helpless. I want to be HEARD. I want them to know prayer works.

WHen it comes right down to it, I think I'm fearful of rejection, persecution, or being slandered for waht I believe. I'm so easily beat down and have a difficulty defining and defending my faith here...

Any advice?

Desert Darlyn said...

Kelli:

Those guys are right, prayer does only work for certain people. Prayer is a Christian's way of speaking to and being spiritually in the presence of Our Lord. Athiests and a non-christians do not have a way to connect with God. It's like they have a cellphone but no provider of service. They cannot just pick up their phone and give God a call when they are in need and expect a hasty prayer to be answered in the way they want it to be. Non-christians often think that prayer is like filling out a list of wants and needs and turning it into God to fill their order. Not so. Even the person who says, "I don't believe in God" will cry out in a crisis, "God help me" and then wonders why they don't get an answer or help.

There is an excellent little book written by Chuck Smith called: "Effective Prayer Life". Prayer is defined as 1. Worship, 2. Petition and 3. Intercession. Prayer is a serious matter because it is how we find out God's will for our lives. It's our road map for navigating in this world; staying on the narrow path.

The Lord always answers my prayers. He doesn't always say, "Yes, dear Cathee, anything you want." He teaches me patience as I wait on Him, He shows me how to be humble as my prayers become more about His Will for my life instead of my desires.

You need to put on the full armor of God before taking on these guys. We are in a war on this earth, the battle of the forces of good and the forces of evil. See Ephesians 6:13-18. Pray and I will pray with you that you will know what to say the next time. You need to know what they think Christianity is firstly. Then you can tell them what it is to you. But be in prayer each morning before work to be prepared to answer.

You said you are fearful. I understand, as I was a people-pleaser for a long time in my life and would not speak up about my faith in Jesus(in case I would offend anyone or be judged as "one of those Jesus-freaks"). There finally comes a time when you have to decide what is more important: Jesus or the world. But be prepared--we cannot speak about the Lord if we have not studied and learned. Pray for wisdom and then read your bible.

I want to tell you, though, speaking out about Jesus at lunch or on your own time when someone has asked you what you believe, is a good thing. Using company time, when you should be working, to proselytize your faith, is not something God wants us to do. I will add you to my prayer list and pray that you will be able to do this.