If I’m being honest, there are many times when I’ve been
skeptical curious about my “superChristian” brothers and sisters. I think most of you who’ve attended church know the people I’m talking about. They may give you the “I’m not judging you, but I’m judging you” look when you don’t put money in the offering one week. They may lecture you about drinking if you mention going to a party on Friday night. They seem so perfect that you start to wonder if they’re even human.
I’m a hypocrite for judging them.
On the outside, my life looks the way it should to fit the stereotype of a “nice Christian girl.” I go to church every Sunday. Some weeks I even get there early to greet people. I’ve consistently volunteered with local non-profits for the past 7 years. I’ve attended Bible studies and prayer groups. I’ve written blogs about faith. But, as much as I try to appear this way, I am certainly not always “nice” and many times my actions fail to reflect that I’m a follower of Christ.
I can go days or weeks without cracking open a Bible. I listen to rap music with lyrics that would make my mother cringe. I gossip. I feel ugly when I don’t have any make-up on. I laugh at other people’s expense. I try to handle things beyond my control. I hang out with people whose morals don’t match my own. I miss opportunities to share my testimony because I’m too intimidated. I’ve fooled other people, and sometimes even myself, into believing I’ve got it all together.
I wonder how many of us go through life hoping we can just “check the boxes” and get by without anyone figuring us out. We show up on Sunday morning. Wear our best clothes. Put money in the offering. Raise our hands during worship. Smile and say “hi” to everyone. Check, check, check, check, check. We should be covered until next Sunday now, right? Nevermind that we looked at our watch the entire time, silently judged the appearance of the person sitting to our left, and critiqued the choir on the drive home. Throughout this crazy routine we forget that, while everyone else might not recognize a mask, we can’t fool God.
I’ve recently forced myself to re-evaluate my intentions and have discovered some truths that trump my imperfections. The real miracle of my life is this: despite my selfish heart, God still invites me to call Him father. And He knows me. He knows when I’m genuinely serving Him and when I’m just going through the motions. He knows when I’d rather watch America’s Next Top Model than read my Bible. He knows when I’m being loving and when I’m judging others. He knows when I’m sitting at church, wondering if forgiveness really applies to me or if it’s just for everyone else.
He knows all of this and He still loves me. He knows every flaw and yet I feel Him reach for me.
I’m finding that, when I hold myself accountable for daily devotions and actively practicing honesty, God begins to transform my heart. It has nothing to do with me and everything to do with His grace. I had wrongly lived under the impression that I need to “fix” myself before I can get close to God. The truth is that He’s calling us to an intimate relationship with Him now. I have genuine enthusiasm about sharing my faith because I know that I don’t have to be perfect to fit perfectly into God’s plan. Asking God to be the foundation in my life just means allowing Him to use my broken, sinful heart as instrument for love. I don’t have to wear a mask because I’m not living for myself anymore… I’m living for Him.