Broken to Forgiven Pt 2
When I first came to faith in Christ, I was confused at some of the quote unquote Christians reaction to me and my new found faith. At first, I had to tell everyone that if I could be forgiven, if I could be accepted, anyone could. I knew how truly sick of a person I was. I knew how depraved my thoughts could be and if this Jesus and his followers could accept me, than anyone could be accepted. I mean anyone could be forgiven.
I read the stories of Jesus with the sinners and I understood that Jesus loved sinners. He loved the broken messed up people, just like me. So the first church I was a part of I brought sinners with me. Any sinner I could find. The homeless man I met on the beach, and my drug addict, and alcoholic friends.
I had these two friends. We’ll call them Susan and Lisa. They were these two messed up broken girls. Susan had been sexually abused by her father for nearly a decade, she had multiple suicide attempts, she was a cutter, had scars all over her poor body and she had her best friend Lisa who was hot mess as well. Their sin was obvious just by looking at them. And they were and are my friends.
But when I found the grace of the Gospel, I knew I wanted these two beautiful girls to feel the forgiveness, and to feel the acceptance I had found with Jesus so I tried to bring them to church with me. But almost immediately Susan said, “Philip I can’t go into a church. Are you crazy? My life is too messed up to step foot into a church. Why would I go there? They will just make me feel worse about myself.”
Something was horribly wrong with this picture. And you know what? She was right. I finally convinced them that my church was different, but I was so wrong. These Christians seemed to have forgotten who Christ came for, and these girls were met with condemnation rather than the reckless love of Christ.
My heart broke. I was disenchanted with church. I was angered. Who were these people? This wasn’t the Jesus I had in my heart. And from that point on in my life ,God has used my brokenness, my insecurities, my feelings of being an outsider, my weaknesses, and he has turned them into my strength. No matter how I’ve ran from serving Him, or what roll he’s placed me in, one thing has been consistent. He has had me on a mission to reach out to the outcast, to share with people that if they are willing to surrender to Him, that there is nothing that they could have done, or nothing that could have been done to them, that can separate them from the love of God. The heart of the Gospel is the forgiveness and transformation of sinners.
Pastor Mark Driscoll says this best, and I’m going to paraphrase him here, “Jesus loves the right wing NRA card carrying homeschooling conservative, Jesus loves the tree hugging, vegan liberal, the prostitute, the drug dealer, the murderer, the porn star, the adulteress the thieves, the obese, the mamas boys, the freaks the geeks, the intelligent, the slow, the old, the young, the gay, the straight, those of you who text while driving, those of you who put on makeup while you’re driving, Europeans who don’t where deodorant, the people who think wrestling is real, women who get paid in one dollar bills. The drunk, the junkie, Jesus loves you. Every one of us.” Jesus loves the Sinner.
Your brother in Christ,
Pastor Phil Dvorak, MS. LMHC