About a 2 years ago I began to realize that even though I called myself a Christian I was really just playing church. I was the stereotypical one folk talk about. I was a really good Christian the days I was a Christian. I put my Christianity on and off like a hat. I mean honestly it is a choice to follow the path that God has laid out, but somedays I acted like I never heard of that road. I don’t recall the exact moment that God brought it to my attention. The fact that I called myself a Christian, but still failed to align myself with his word. I do remember that I was sitting on my couch, probably scrolling fb and judging people, when the phrase, in the world but not of the world came into my mind. I sat and contemplated the depth of that statement. Next I went to my bible app and hit search. Didn’t find it but a quick Google search yielded me this.
The phrase is based on John 17:14-17. What does it mean exactly? Well to be in the world was obvious you’re here. To be not of the world for me was about mindset. The ability to stand out and go against the grain, but to do it all in and with love. For me in that moment it meant that I was exactly what most folks dislike about Christians; a hypocrite.
I mean the drinking, fornicating, shacking, kids out of wedlock, dishonest when it was to my benefit, finger pointing, judgement doling, not quite learned enough to be a bible thumper Christian. God showed me right in that moment not only was I no better but I was actually worse. I claimed to love the Lord, but really I loved my own way.
I am good at judging y’all, I think I had it down to a science. Shameful I know, and just as the word said I was quick to point out the flaws of others without acknowledging my own. I could tell you about you, your dog, your house, etc. etc. Of course anything terrible you dealt with I just assumed was your judgement on God’s behalf because you know God don’t like ugly. That’s not how God’s judgement doesn’t function in that way. God isn’t spending all his time trying make sure everybody gets their comeuppance. If he was he’d have to go ahead and start all over…… again. Now judging is not to be confused with the process of exercising good judgment. We can and should consider our actions, motivation and that of others. It is necessary to make sound decisions. In the process of analyzing these factors it is also okay to be honest with others when they are wrong. Most of our issues stem from what we say and how we say it. When we are truthful with each other in a loving way it is more often than not well received.
I was/am on occasion so deep in this I can’t even imagine how ridiculous I must sound. This is honestly a struggle some days. I had a what everyone else should do and a what I am gonna do mindset. I’d do things like talk trash to someone for texting and driving or whatever they were doing on their phone, right after I just got done doing the same with mine. Can we say double standard? My way of thinking; riddled with them. As a parent this type of behavior is a boomerang. It comes right back at you but its worse because it’s from people you love more than life. Nothing hurts worse than watching your child stumble because of you.
This is where the depth of who I am worked against people that I love. How so, you wonder? Well I was so busy doing me, and not following the word that I was living life with a worldly mindset. I even encouraged others to do the same. I cosigned on all manner of destructive behaviors. I even used my misunderstanding of God as an excuse or justification for some of the foolishness. I mean I prayed about it so I’m sure its okay to do things the way I want right? Honestly I wasn’t even waiting for answers. I was just diving head first into whatever I wanted claiming the Lord blessed it if it went the way I thought it should. Instead of being used by God I allowed myself to be used and played by the enemy. I honestly have no clue to what depth I have dug this particular hole. I am praying though, for me and everyone I feel I wronged along the way.
So what’s next? Practice! Practice makes perfect, I am on a long road to changing my mindset, my habits and my lifestyle. I know that may sound overwhelming but only if you are staring at the big picture and not each moment. My goal is to focus on today. What can I do today to improve my life and the lives of others around me simply by sharing the love of God? I’m not knocking on doors sharing the love, it may just be hug for a stranger when I sense a need, a smile or a million other small things that positively affect the life of someone else. No you don’t have to be a Christian to do those things, but all Christians should.
Sadly some of us are too caught up in rules, bylaws, judgement doling or the practice of religion to really practice one of God’s greatest commands to love one another. Meanwhile while there are a chunk of Christians living in the world in a worldly way(no judgement lol), I’m trying to carve out my own understanding and adjust the mindset I’ve created on what it truly means for me to follow Christ.