Last night I went to a friend's church, and I saw a girl who I had grown up with. I didn't recognize her at first, but I thought it was her. I asked two of the people I was with if it was her. They said yes in a quiet tone, still not looking back at her.
I will call the girl "Jenny". After graduating early from high school she totally rebelled against her parents and left home. That story is all to familiar to me. I don't need to describe the terrible things that she did while away, because I am sure that you can imagine what happened on your own.
She came back home a month or so ago. I asked her why she came back, she told me that she didn't leave on a good note, so she wanted to fix that. But just because it might sound good doesn't mean that she's truly repentant or a Christian. Only God knows the real reasons she came back.
When I first approached her, I asked her what's new. She proudly told me about all of her piercings and her tattoo. How worldly were all of these things. It made me sad.
After a while of talking, we went back into the group of people to talk about things we are working on as a Christian. And she talked a lot.
Her talk seemed like she was a Christian. She said she was working on things. She wrote Scriptures down and said that she should read them. But that's just how she was before in church.
It felt like she had put on the "Christian" mask again. But only God knows her heart.
Then I met her boyfriend, he wasn't friendly. In fact, I haven't met a whole lot of people who don't even want to meet you. He kept touching her--it made me sad because she thinks that there is actually something meaningful between them. But he just wants one thing from her.
Later my friends asked me why I talked to her, as if she were such a terrible person that they should stay away from. I was saddened by my friends' response to her.
Just because God didn't let you or me go that far that we go and get drunk at parties doesn't mean that we were any better than her. God could have let you go as far as she has been going. Maybe He did, maybe He didn't.
Just because we never did some of the things that Beth has, doesn't make us any better or holier. God could have let us. And at least, knowing my own heart, I would have gone as far as she did if God didn't save me. I was no better than she is. I was just as dirty on the inside as she is.
All of that makes me think how often we do that? Not talk or want to be with a person who has a terrible past. Do we consider ourselves better than non-Christians are?
I know that if at least she is going to church, there is hope that God will save her. As long as she is doing that; there is hope. There is always hope.
What my fear is is that as Christians, we don't want to reach out to her. We know what she has done, we know how rotten her life has been. We are no better! Just because God has saved you makes you no better than them! It's only by God's grace that you are not like that! Only by His grace!
There are thousands of "Jennys" at our churches. There are thousands of people with terrible pasts that we refuse to reach out to. We were no better than they are. We were just as dirty and rotten.
We must reach the "Jennys" at our churches. And we will not reach them if we refuse to even speak to them, or even look. Are we reaching them? Are you reaching them?