Over the past few years of writing and talking to people about grace, God’s sovereignty, His choosing, and the adversity He brings us to and through, a question has laced itself through my journey.
How do you know that you need Jesus?
I wrote on a friend’s blog a couple of years ago and a comment has stuck with me this entire time. I thought it was ugly, it was hurtful, and the commenter’s mentality still bothers me. I didn’t speak up enough in response and that’s probably why it’s still with me. I was a guest writer in a series about guarding your marriage from an affair. I was the voice of the one who had done the unthinkable. I wrote about how I was able to have an affair and what I learned about boundaries between men and women. I also gave several tips about how to recognize when you’re on the path before you go too far. I thought this information would be eye opening mainly because I’m just like you. I’m not a dirty woman who carries no regard for the sanctity of marriage, but I was naive and learned something that I think can help people avoid my path. The commenter told me that I was the last person she wanted to hear from on this subject. She said that it was like hearing how to be a good parent from someone who drowned their children. She said that she wanted to hear from a woman who had been happily married for decades so she could glean her tips. I was paralyzed from the sting of disregard and I’ve been mad at myself since.
The thing is, a woman who had drowned her children can tell you her symptoms before she did the unthinkable and those who have similar symptoms would be able to be sufficiently scared enough to seek help before they temper the bath water. Nobody thinks they could do something like that and few think they would actually carry out an affair.
Someone who is distracted by feeling alive again doesn’t realize that they’re losing pieces of their loyalty. They won’t identify with a woman who has never felt her heart shift direction.
Along with that, I have been challenged by people who have never faced real adversity in their lives. They grew up in great families, have great lives, and haven’t done anything really …wrong.
It’s hard for me to keep myself from feeling like they don’t have a clue. They don’t know pain, they haven’t seen their worst, and they haven’t really suffered for anything. How can they know a Savior if they’ve never needed to be rescued?
This is my struggle. I struggle with it because I don’t understand how someone can come to terms with the depth of Jesus sacrifice if they haven’t known, without question, that it was the only thing severe enough to actually stand a chance of being sufficient punishment for their own sins.
Like an animal who writhes and convulses before death. I writhed before I believed. I don’t understand people who have never writhed.
I read a blog recently that talked about the other side of self-rightiousness. The gist was that people who, like me, believe that they understand grace more than those who haven’t been rescued as dramatically as them can be another form of ‘self-rightious’. ‘Self-rightious’ because we think other believers don’t get it. Even to the point of wondering if a person can really be ‘saved’ if they don’t understand grace. I have often wondered if I was really ‘saved’ before my big sin. That would mean that for nine years I thought I was a Christian when I was actually someone who altered my lifestyle to align with the Christian tradition. I don’t have that answer. I thought I was, but in retrospect with the ability to compare, I have serious doubts. I was a new type of person before, but I have no doubt that I am a new creation after.
If I am right, and I’m not saying I am, then how many other people are just great people who live by the Christian standards, but don’t really know Jesus as a redeemer? Redeemed from what? Don’t you need to know to really know?
Going back to the blog about self-rightiousness: I think a person is self-rightious when they think they have something that others don’t and they hold that over the other’s heads. I don’t think a person is self-rightious if they think they know something that others don’t and they try to spread the word so everyone can know it, too. You can recognize that someone isn’t living in freedom and want that for them enough to keep talking about it.
How do you know that you really need Jesus?
A young man asked Jesus, “Teacher, what good deed must I do tohave eternal life?”
“Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.”
“You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
“All these I have kept. What do I still lack?”
“If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”
When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
And Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” -taken from Matthew 19:16-24
I don’t think that passage is just about material wealth. I think it’s about security. I think it’s about not really having a struggle. I think it’s about a really good person with a really good heart, but no real need.
It’s easy for people like me. I want no part of myself because I’ve seen who I really am. I live only for Him, otherwise, I need to be snuffed out.
Jesus said it was harder for them to enter the Kingdom of God and I think it’s because they have to let go of all the good things that they feel they’ve been ‘blessed’ with because it reveals what’s really there. What’s left when all your ‘blessings’ and ease of character are gone? It’s hard to see your need when life doesn’t really give you one. You enter the Kingdom of God by letting go of everything you have to offer, everything you’ve been given, and everything you are. If you have no reason to let that go, then it’s really, really hard for you.
If there is/was nothing missing in your life, if you’ve never reached the magnitude of Jesus sacrifice with your depravity, then how do/did you know you need(ed) Jesus? How do you really know your rescuer?