I went to the gym the other day and to my dismay, my headphones were not working.
“Whatever, I got myself this far—I’ll make the best of it.”
I go to my frienemy, the StairMaster, to begin contemplating my decision to go the gym for about 30 minutes.
Two bubbly, high pony-tail girls got on the StairMasters next to me. They began to talk and my nosy self couldn’t help but listen. I mean what’s a girl going to do when she can’t listen to her Taylor Swift Pandora?
Their conversation went something like this (note: names have been changed).
“Oh my goodness so Amanda got so drunk she hooked up with Brad. And THEN she had the nerve to show up at church the next day. Haha nice try. You are not fooling anyone.”
Did I miss something where Jesus said, “Hey before you enter my place of worship make sure you didn’t in your past hook up with Brad.” Must’ve missed that part.
The conversation got worse.
“Like Amanda is not fooling anyone with this wannabe Christian act. She’s definitely not a Christian. And to make it worse, she legit still had her Xs on at church. You could totally see them.”
HAH. Excuse me. I think I missed that part too. Maybe the 11th commandment was, “Thou shalt not try to have a relationship with me if you have X’s on your hands from thy bar.”
OK people, let’s get something straight—you are not better than the girl who hooked up with the boy drunk or the girl who threw up at the bar. You are not better than the girl who got an MIC or the boy who cheated on his girlfriend. You are not better. You are a sinner too.
To be honest, I’ve been both girls. The girl judged for her actions and the girl judging others. It stinks to be both girls. But I’ve also been the once messed up sinner running into Jesus’ arms after my sins.
And we all have to start somewhere.
Just because someone is lost doesn’t mean they will not get to their destination.
Trust me, I get lost going to the grocery store. But your gal always manages to get there and grab her Ben and Jerry’s.
We are all sinners who are in desperate need of a Savior. We all must confess our sins and then focus on answering God’s one question: Will you follow me?
Yes, maybe my sins are different than “Amanda’s,” but they also aren’t different. They are just as dirty, stinky and have separated me from Christ. And when I was the girl judging, I was sinful. I was prideful. And I was just as dirty and stinky as Amanda, and as the girls on the StairMaster. They prohibited me from seeing how beautiful God’s grace was for a messed up frequent sinner like myself.
And you know what I learned? I may still mess up. I am not perfect. If I’m being honest, last week was a bad week for me where I struggled with sin—but my butt was in the church pew the following Sunday. Because I know I serve a God who sees my imperfections and doesn’t ask me what I did. He already knows what I did. He does not ask girls to wash their X’s off. He says come as you are. He says you are welcome to His table. He says confess your sins and then turn away from them and follow Him. He does not ask Amanda to pretend that she never even looked at Brad. He asks her to follow Him, learn from her mistake and turn to Him.
We serve a loving God and forgiving God. One who challenges us to be better and asks us only what we’re going to do, not what we have done.
So throw off the chains that you are burdening and look to the cross. A perfect man died for your sins. And no matter how bad you think your sins are or how “great” you think you are, you need Him. You need His love. You need His grace. And you need to answer His one question He is whispering into your heart: “Will you follow me?”
And when you follow Him, you will love like Him. You will look at “Amanda” and welcome her—not belittle her. You will see beyond her X’s. And most importantly, you will care for, support and lift up your fellow sinner.
So as my good friend Jesus once said, “Let the sinless man cast the first stone, and let judgement be left to God alone.”
A version of this post was originally published on gracevalentine.org