Monday, March 16, 2009

Guilty

I did something I've never done in my life, and it took all the way until this morning for God's voice to finally get through my hardened heart concerning it. This is raw and real, and sure to surprise some of you, so bear with me.

Saturday night I went to a pub to listen to a band I enjoy, especially since the lead guitarist is my brother-in-law. I went with my husband and a friend. The music was, as usual, incredible. Through the course of the evening, I had one drink. This is not something I believe is a sin, as you will know about me if you know me well. I think we can certainly take this too far and easily be entangled in sin unexpectedly, and that is why some people should abstain completely. And there is much that goes with that, but that is not why I'm writing this morning.

After the band finished playing, it was only fitting to visit another pub (after all, it was Pub Crawl). Here again, if you know me well, right about now you may or may not be retrieving your jaw from the floor.

Stick with me.

We went into another bar, and I'm sure people who were not already intoxicated could pick me out in a second..."There's a bar virgin." Yep. I saw people I didn't know existed. And we'll leave it at that. We stood in our small circle for just a few minutes before deciding this was no fun. The night ended with dinner, much to my relief, and then we returned home.

The next morning, we went to church as usual. We help set up our service each week, and we enjoy it. But I was having a hard time finding joy in...anything. I felt heavily afflicted in my heart, but I wasn't certain by what. Each song our worship band sang made the tears stream heavier down my cheeks. I felt guilty...dirty...stained.

I proceeded to have one of the worst days I've had in a while...from forgetting my money at the grocery store after piling a basket full to being accused of getting plastered the night before...and I could go on. I felt like I was a two year old being punished for my behavior the night before, and I was merely living out those consequences.

Until this morning.

I actually dragged myself out of bed for quiet time with my Savior...something I had stopped doing for a while. My God is so faithful, and I'm so glad that He never disappoints.

I was asking Christ to forgive me of my sins...and I thought that heavily included going to a bar. In the midst of my plea, I heard something unexpected, though.

"Your sin isn't what you think."

"What, Lord? I know going to the pub was a sin. Now look at what I've done...others think I'm a drunk."

"They thought I was, too. Standing in a bar is not your sin."

I sat for a moment, replaying my actions over the course of the evening. I had not looked at any men, I had not gotten drunk, I had not even cursed. What was left?

Suddenly, an image I wish I could erase came to the front of my mind: A very large woman wearing a top that could scarcely be called so, bouncing the only thing that gives her attention she likes. The loose tongued man who accompanied us to dinner. The woman rubbing her chest against a loud man and whispering in his ear.

"What did you DO that night?"

"Nothing."

"Exactly. You turned away and acted like you had not seen them at all."

I felt the heaviness on my heart swell, and then the tears burst forth again. It was true. I wanted to press delete and remove the entire scenario from my mind.

Erase them.

And all day on Sunday I was overwhelmed with what I thought was my sin: going. I was so worried about who had seen me in such a "non-Christian" place.

Little did I know, my "non-Christian" actions were of quite a different nature. I saw the people as spectacles, as prostitutes, as homosexuals, as drunks, as loose.

And I saw myself as better than them.

"Did you see the broken ones, the one who has never been loved genuinely, the one who doesn't know who she is, the one who left his wife at home, the one who..."

And so here I sit, humbled and, once again, in awe of what my Savior does for me time and time again. He loves me.

But not just me.

He loves each broken person that brushed past me that evening. And my Jesus uses the very same measuring cup.

My inward focus has been laid before me, and once again, I am reminded that it's not about me. While I was consumed with guilt because of what others might think of me, I completely missed the last thing Christ told us to do before He went back home to be with the Father:

"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit..." Matthew 28:19 (ESV)

How can we make disciples if we don't go? How can we love if we're consumed by ourselves?

I am guilty, all right...but not of what I thought. Thankfully, Jesus' blood covers that, too.

Peace of Christ to you,
Cara

Thursday, March 5, 2009

WHAT It TAKES


Lord, please provide me with these each day before my feet hit the floor...and remind me that without You, such qualities simply don't exist.

Peace of Christ to you,
Cara