Is there really anything better than that feeling you get when someone tells you that you’ve done a great job or that you’re gifted in some way, or the feeling in the pit of your stomach when someone picks you first for their team or suggests you for a job? These are great ways to feed our pride, but (please tell me you can relate) pride can quickly become a monster of its own.
As I have mentioned many times before, I am about to start my junior year at a small Christian college. It’s a college that has many great qualities and has done a lot for growing my faith, but it is also pretty common to get judgment stares when you go to brunch on Sunday and you look like you haven’t come from a church service. As Christians, nothing excites us quite as much as the opportunity to pass so good healthy judgment. For example, just because someone regularly posts a picture of a Bible and a cup of coffee on Instagram complete with the hastag #blessed doesn’t mean she isn’t struggling with her own issues, and just because someone else has never posted Hillsong United song lyrics on a Sunday morning doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a very real authentic faith.
When my mom attended the same college, there was a group there called Salt Company. It was basically just a Bible study that met on Friday nights at like 8’o’clock. According to her, it was like you weren’t really a Christian if you didn’t attend this prestigious group. “who loved Jesus the “most” was there on Friday’s and you better believe you faced the Grover judgment if you weren’t. This is one of the hardest parts of being a Christian, at least for me. You want the whole world to know how much you love God, but you also don’t want to be self-righteous. You want to be able to witness to people, but you don’t want to be too of the world.
Have you ever met those people who are so nice, kind, and patient no matter what life throws at them? When they are complimented for their hard work instead of thanking you and internally going “yes, I really am the bomb.com,” say “I could be nothing without God”? I always find myself being so frustrated by those people because I can’t relate to them. Sometimes I swear, and sometimes I laugh at dirty jokes’ and sometimes I love myself way more than I should. Now I’m not in any way making fun of those people because they are great gifts, and most of the time I know they are authentic. But after I talk to those people I always feel like, “wow, I’m going to hell”. Or how about when it comes time to share your testimony and the whole group just finished sobbing because Jimmy shared his heart wrenching tale of how he overcame his drug addiction with Jesus. Suddenly it’s your turn. As all the eyes in the room fixate on you, you’re thinking, “crap all I have to follow this up is well I grew up in a Christian home and I gave my life to Jesus on the hill of a candlelit service in 5th grade.”
I think as Christians we can get stuck believing that if we don’t behave a certain way or even throw our faith in everyone’s face that we can’t be used by God. That is not even close to being true. God has a special place to use people who are different than us to reach certain groups of people. He has also placed you right where you are and with your gifts and talents because He wants YOU to reach someone right where you are.
“For who makes you different than anyone else? What do you have that God hasn’t give you? And if everything you have is from God , why boast as though it were not a gift?” 1 Corinthians 4:7. It can so hard in our own walks with God not to look around in compare ourselves to others. We can quickly become the type of people who gossip/pray about our friends or feel the need to raise our hands at every worship service just to show off.
Something that can really help win over our non-Christian friends and family is when we can honestly admit that we don’t have it all together. My mom was really struggling with her faith when she thought she needed to be a certain type of Christian. She said she really contributes the growth of her faith in college to her friend Ann. She could relate to Ann. It can be so easy when we have already been Christians for a long time to feel like we need to impress each other with all our Biblical knowledge or have a dramatic story in order to make an impact. The truth is God can use our story to reach other people– whether we are the people who came to Christ from a drug addiction or the kid that never missed VBS. We need to be authentic about our faith and be quicker to admit our pride and our flaws. I hope one day to be an impact to my friends the way my mom’s friend Ann was to her, but trust me, every day is a work in progress. So the next time you’re seated at church by the person who is notorious for “Yes Lording” everything the pastor says, just remember that all our faith journeys are different. Let’s not let our pride and judgment have us fall off our paths.