An Apology To Those Who Are Not Christians
I would like to share my story about the mistakes I made when I first became a Christian. Because of my behavior, I feel I drove unbelievers away from ever wanting to get saved. For this, I am truly sorry, from my heart.
Quite some time ago, I visited a Christian bookstore in search of a particular paperback. Gospel music blasted from speakers which I surmised was for the purpose of uplifting the customer. To be honest, it was so loud that I found it to be annoying.
Since I could not locate the book, I asked the clerk if she would order it for me.
"We need the money up front," she curtly replied.
I gave her my last $5.00.
"Will you call me when it arrives?" I asked.
"We'll send a card."
I left the store turned off by the negative atmosphere displayed at the checkout counter. A week later I received in the mail a ripped postcard taped together. I read, "Your book is in, we'll hold it for thirty days."
When I went to pick up the book a different clerk was at the counter. She did not smile, radiated an "I hate my job" atmosphere and acted like I was an inconvenience. I told her to have a great day, and I left.
Maybe that girl was having a bad day or suffering from personal problems. Yet, the fact remains if employees of Christian bookstores can't be civil, they should turn off the flowery music because it's a bad example for those who are browsing at happy stickers that read, "Smile, God loves you." It makes Christians look like hypocrites. Also, if I was not a Christian I doubt I'd have made the decision to share Heaven with that lady, and I may have remained unsaved.
However, I AM a Christian, and that experience caused me to do some serious thinking.
When I first got saved, I did not have a true relationship with Jesus Christ. I had a relationship with religion. I plunged into every church activity imaginable in order to serve God and to impress other Christians. I worked very hard for my salvation. I was told by others to "Study to show thyself approved unto God, a WORKMAN that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." (II Timothy 2:15)
I was cautioned to be "separate" from sinners - those who were not US. I thought I had to be a testimony. Some testimony! I became so heavenly minded that I was no earthly good. The more spiritual I tried to be, the more ridiculous I behaved.
I finally started attending a Bible study group. The wife of the leader said to our group one night, "Pretend you are a glass of water. The glass is a vessel...you. The water inside the glass is the Holy Spirit living through you. You are NOT a human DOING, you are a human BEING."
The LIGHT came on. I learned I do NOT have to push salvation on others. I do not have to ACT like a Christian. All I have to do is to BE who I am and let Christ LIVE through me.
There are Christians who are missionaries, evangelists, and pastors. There are those who sing and stand on street corners passing out tracts. I am none of those. Why? Because it is not my gift. My witness is through writing and public speaking. And just being me, Sparklea. PERIOD.
I am not the person I was many years ago. It is here, at this moment, that I have to say this to those of you who are not Christians: I owe you an apology. I ask your forgiveness in the event I've been a negative testimony and have made God look like a sanctimonious, unfriendly, judgmental Being. I misunderstood how I thought I should live.
I am not trying to win you over. I totally understand if others besides me have turned you off. Over the years I've heard MANY say that the atmosphere in their church is terrible. People look indifferent and miserable. I myself have been to services where the people looked like a bunch of mannequins in the church pews.
That being said, I do have to say to you that BEING a Christian, giving every second of my life to God and His Son, Jesus Christ, ALONE, has been the best decision of my life. This happened when I stopped listening to those who were judgmental. I know I have Someone to turn to, always, about everything. There is no greater feeling than that.
Also, there are many, many Christians who are genuine and sincere. You will know them by their fruits. These are wonderful people who are praying for you and for peace in the world.
Finally, my greatest prayer, every night before I go to sleep, is for God to soften my heart and the hearts of everyone on this planet...and for the salvation of all mankind.
I know that's a big request, God. But thank You for loving me, as well as, all Your creation.
Blessings, Sparklea :)