When I was in high school, there was a girl who was well known by most people, and good at almost anything. She also called herself a Christian. I heard her talk about God sometimes, and even saw her praying occasionally. But then I saw her swear, or be mean to people sometimes. In my self-righteous 16-year-old mindset, I was really confused. I figured she probably wasn't a real Christian because she sure wasn't acting even near perfect . . . which we all know is how all Christians need to act-always!
At the time, the way I lived as a Christian was mostly wrapped up in a lot of fear and anxiety. I constantly felt like I was spinning my wheels, trying to measure up to God's standard for how a true Christ follower should live. After all, there is totally one specific list of Do's and Don'ts and as long as I stick to it, I'll make God happy and earn His praise. When you say it that way it sounds pretty jacked up, right?
Fast forward to my time living in Spain. God finally got my attention and showed me that I was basically a self-righteous Pharisee who looked down on the rest of those "heathens" in the world because I thought I was so good, a blessing to God. I didn't have much genuine love for those who didn't live for Christ, (though I tried because it was on the list of Do's), and struggled with true passion for God (also something on the list.) When I realized my self-righteousness, pride and just plain awfulness, I finally understood what Christ had done for me on the cross. He'd sacrificed His life, knowing that I would one day be born as a jerk. The reality of God's grace resonated with me for the first time in my life. I couldn't believe that God would love me that much . . . knowing how wretched I really was in my heart of hearts. It gave me new freedom in Christ. I became comfortable with who God had made me to be. I was able to stop trying so hard to be that Christian that I thought everyone else was at home, behind closed doors. I started listening to God's voice as He spoke into my life and what He wanted me to do with it, for His glory. And you know what? It became a lot easier to do the things that I knew were pleasing to God. I found joy in obedience.
The reason I tell you all of this is because some people wonder why I like The Very Worst Missionary blog so much. Lots of people are really offended by her blog. They don't like the occasional swearing or the sarcasm, and some just don't like the bluntness she uses to describe the reality of a missionary living in Costa Rica. I love the blog because I see her as a Christian under my new set of eyes. Instead of thinking Christians are all supposed to look, act, and think the same way, I now see that God has created people to be truly unique because He has unique purposes for them. And now that I understand Grace, I see Christians as people who were/are messed up, but live new lives, centered around letting God mold them into His will for their lives. God uses imperfect people!
Sure, maybe The Very Worst Missionary shouldn't swear*, but maybe I shouldn't eat that 4th brownie either. And maybe I should remember that I'm probably reading something that was started as a personal online journal, and although 100's of people read it, she can say what she wants in her journal. I mean, who censors what they say in their diary?
I'm not saying sin is relative, I'm just saying that I can look past things that some might consider as wrong, and see the good. And in this blog's case, there is so much good. God is using a normal woman who blogs about her life. Her real life. Things like how she makes mistakes . . . how she struggles with letting an African woman hold her hand despite the fact that she hates being touched . . . or how crappy it is to not be able to flush your toilet paper. The blogosphere is full of people writing an edited, perfected version of their lives. But few are writing about what's really going on, how they really feel, and how God is working it all out in them. I love this blog, and I'll keep reading it. There are too many nuggets of Truth and insight to miss out on. Blog on The Very Worst Missionary. May God continue to use your humility, willingness to be real and yes, even your skarkiness.
*You can read this post, written by someone else, about how I feel on the subject of swearing and the words we use. Let the can of worms open . . . .