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I Would Never...

When I was 13, my older brother would drive me to school. Of course, being in his car meant listening to his music. He was 16, and one of those cool, popular jocks who always listened to rap music that boasted of sleeping with countless women while sprinkling in profanities wherever there seemed to be a chance to.


Young and innocent, I would roll my deep brown eyes and put my pink headphones in to cue up my iPod (remember those?!) to play much safer songs for my tiny, virgin ears to take in. You know: Celine Dion, Hannah Montana, Casting Crowns. The “good” music. None of that “bad” stuff that would make me a horrible person.


Well, low and behold, a few months later - I found myself foregoing my personal playlist and allowing the words of Lil’ Wayne and Drake to find their way into my eardrums. Gasp. Terrible, I know.


The point is… I said I would NEVER listen to that type of music. I promised myself that it was terrible, and that the ideas that it stood for would never become a choice I would dive into. I rolled my eyes with disgust that my brother was such a...HEATHEN! And yet, I started listening.


Justin Bieber was right - Never Say Never.


And yet, this didn’t make me a bad person. It didn’t make God love me any less. Did He prefer me to listen to Matthew West or Natalie Grant over pre-gospel Kanye? Of course - but, my choice of music didn’t make me any less qualified to be loved by a merciful God.


Of course, this is a drastic example.


I’ve made other countless, horrible decisions that I said I’d never do.

I’ve made decisions that I’ll forever regret, and I’ve said things I wish I could take back.


And guess what? I’ve repented for every one of them. I’ve dealt with the shame and overbearing guilt that has come with each action. I’ve spent countless nights soaking my pillows with tears shaped by a sense of unworthiness and brokenness. I’ve let words of disappointed people scar my bones, still able to taste the salty residue they left behind.


I am human.

You are human.

We were born with a sinful nature - and we are bound to mess up.


 

We do our best not to, but the simple fact is that we do. And every single time, Jesus is right there waiting, with His arms open to say, “It’s okay. I still love you.”

 

Yet, we, as the world, think it’s our duty to look at others and shame them. We look at people who have messed up and say, “I would never do that”. “I would never sin like that.” “How could they?”


Funny enough, they probably have said or are saying the same exact thing.


I messed up pretty darn badly recently. It’s eaten away at me every day since the decision was made, and all my inner voice would say to me is, how could you? How could you? How? Over and over again, until I am overwhelmed and sick with a heavy guilt.


I don’t know how I could. But I did. And I can’t erase it. But, I can grow from it. And I will grow from it - not in my own strength, but in the strength of the UNDESERVED mercy and grace of a God who unconditionally loves me and you.


This brings me to one of my favorite quotes by my dude Jesus: “Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone”. This story in the book of John about the adulterous woman who was almost stoned to death as a consequence of her sexual sins, resonates with me for two reasons:


  1. My mother played the adulterous woman in our church’s Easter production, and I can still recite her monologue. She was one heck of an adulterous woman. ;)

  2. I got to dance with my mom to a song about grace after her acting debut, and it brought me to tears every time.


The way Jesus sees this woman, who was full of shame and sin, with such hope and beauty is such a profound illustration of His grace. The world saw a sinner, and just because they thought her sin was “worse” than theirs, they deemed her unworthy to live. Yet, Jesus saw their sin too.


They stood, ready to bash this woman with stones, and Jesus reminded them that they, too, should be sentenced to die if that were the consequence of sin.


What’s to say your sin is “less” than someone else’s?


Let’s be more like Jesus. Let’s extend more mercy. Let’s try to give others a break.


Because you never know when you’ll need the same mercy given back to you.

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