(This is a repost from a previous blog I had a couple of years ago called Our Rough Edges. I felt it was a good time to share it again. ~AJW)
I woke up this morning thinking about the movie Eat, Pray, Love. I lay there remembering how this movie prompted me to make big changes in my life. I was a nonbeliever at the time, claiming that I believed in God, but thought Jesus was just a good man who was probably insane. This movie is not a Christian movie by any means. In it the main character is not really even spiritual but finds herself in a situation where all she can think to do is pray to God. Eventually she seeks more of a spiritual life through meditations and seeking God within. Never does it mention Jesus; as a matter of fact, she even goes to an ashram in India to further seek enlightenment which would indicate a belief in Hindu traditions and gods. Yet this movie was a huge stepping stone in me leaving an abusive marriage and seeking who God really was, which eventually opened the door to me discovering Jesus was in fact God’s son.
What we Christians most often don’t get is that God can use whatever and whomever He chooses to reach the lost and broken. A movie doesn’t have to be biblical. A book doesn’t have to proclaim Jesus is Lord. A person doesn’t have to be a Christian for God to move them when He has a plan to change another.
We get so hung up on comparing ourselves to this person or that person, to dissecting each circumstance trying to find fault, to stripping down every aspect of anything until we cannot see God’s hand at work. To quote an old saying, “we can’t see for the forest for the trees.” And more often than not, we get in the way and stifle any growth in others and ourselves, because we are consistently trying to prove we are good enough to call ourselves Christians.
My mother and I have often talked about how Christians tend to be the hardest on each other especially. We are quick to point fingers at how someone is missing the mark in their own walk in order to keep from seeing we could stand to make changes ourselves. “Christians. We eat our own,” my mother has said to me. So sad, but true.
Christians, myself included, forget that we do not have to—more than that—we can’t even come close to earning the love of God. That is what grace provides. We consistently tell ourselves we are better than so and so, look at how they are messing up, and we judge them compared to where we think we are. Or we look at new Christians wondering why they don’t measure up to where we think they should be after being saved. More often than not we are just as messy and prone to wander as any other Christian, because we are human. Not one of us is good enough on our own. That is why God sent us Jesus. And after that, why He sent us the Holy Spirit. Look how much help we need, yet here we sit pointing our fingers and ripping apart not only our own, but anyone who doesn’t fit the mold. No wonder nonbelievers can’t hear love over all that noise.
I didn’t come to Jesus because I looked at believers and wanted what I saw in them. I came to Jesus because He reached out to me, first through a movie, then through a book, then through meditation, and finally through a message that announced that He loved me – ME—as I was right there in that moment, not as I or anyone else thought I was supposed to be. I found grace, overwhelming grace, and a love to which nothing on this earth can compare. If I had to measure up, then or now, I’d never make it into the Kingdom of God. Today, I am a daughter of the King, because of God’s plan alone. Thankfully, I don’t have to earn it. Neither do you.
You. Are. Loved.
Further reading: Luke 6:37-42, Matthew 20:1-16, 1 John 3:11-24