Have you ever encountered someone that seemed too steeped in sin to care about taking Christianity seriously?
This evening I’ve been thinking about someone I have not thought about in a long time–someone who probably thought that I was too steeped in sin to care about taking Christianity seriously.
This was a co-worker of mine. She was probably in her 50s. I was 19-20 at the time. I was a Christian. Sort of. I didn’t really understand what living as a Christian was about.
At the time, I was in a long-distance relationship with my now husband. We were not married then. Every few months, I would take a trip to see him. My co-worker would make snarky comments about how I was going to “shack up” with my boyfriend.
I also had acne at the time. She told me this was my sin leaving me. It was because I was a fornicator, she said.
All this did was harden me. I think I even made a snarky remark back about how much fun I would have “shaking up” with my boyfriend.
I also watched Joel Osteen on the television while I worked. Me and one of my co-workers liked him. We worked at an assisted living facility, and the residents enjoyed watching him so we would turn on their TVs and listen while we took care of them.
The not-so-kind co-worker remarked on this too.
She said that he was terrible and she could not believe that we would listen to that garbage.
Did we care? Did we listen to her? No.
Looking back, I cannot help but wonder, what if she had taken the time to share Jesus with me?
Instead of making jabs at me, what if she had taken the time to be kind? What if she had taken the time to notice that I had some measure of faith in Jesus and asked to talk about the faith? What if she had taken the time to learn about who I was and the life I lived that informed by sinful choices? What if she had shown compassion and gently corrected me while showing me the word of God?
To her, I was probably just a stupid, sinful, and proud teenager who would not listen to her. I think I would have. If she had taken the time.
I’m glad that I did not because my life would not be what it is and I know that God is in control. Yet, I think the Lord is brining this to my mind for a reason.
We don’t know what people are going through and we don’t know how they might respond if we just take the time. Instead of dismissing people as lost causes for one reason or the other, what if we take the time to get to know them, find out what their lives are like, and patiently lead them to Jesus?
This requires taking a personal interest in individuals–individuals that are often lost, overlooked, and swallowed up by a collective.
To my co-worker, I was just another stupid and rebellious teenager. I was not an individual–an individual with a painful life that could have used some kindness and wise instruction from an older woman.
Let’s not let people get swallowed up in collectives.
Even the most extreme and sin-filled collectives. Don’t forget the individuals. Take the time. Jesus took the time to reach out to me, though that meant about another decade of suffering without Him, but I’m glad He did. I want to make sure that I take the time too.