Friday, January 28, 2011
How you start the race is rarely how you finish...
I found that out about 4 years ago when I started spending time on Yahoo Answers. Maybe I was looking for a fight...hard to say...but I loved getting into theological debates with atheist and agnostics who would invade the Christianity section and start bashing away at the 'ignorant religious people.' Some of my aggressiveness wasn't a bit Christ-like. Okay. None of my anger was very Christ-like at all. I lashed out from my own guilt that I had failed to let go of when I pleaded with God to forgive my years of tarrying in darkness.
The website I had created (stickwithjesus.com) was rudimentary at best and the obvious first efforts of a website design novice. Lots of information but not a cohesive core or even theme. My goal was to convince those who had strayed away from Jesus the error in their chosen path. After all, I had been there myself. So with a website, a mission and a passion, I started venturing into online conversation on a near nightly basis.
Funny thing you don't realize when you hit the forums and chat rooms with an agenda...everyone else there has an agenda too! Very few people are actually searching for answers because they believe they already have them. Ahem. Guilty as charged. But even after coming to that conclusion several weeks into my self-proclaimed ministry, I refused to let up. It was almost an addiction...no...it WAS an addiction!
My email inbox was almost constantly bombarded with love and/or hate messages. I wasn't being a very good steward of God's light. I also wasn't finding very much joy in my endeavor. But somehow, I convinced myself I was His warrior. A champion for His cause. Yet I knew in my heart something wasn't quite right.
While scrolling through my emails one morning, I came across one from a fellow with an Asian looking name. That wasn't unusual in itself, but the Subject Box really caught my attention- WHY DOES GOD LOVE ME? I proceeded with the normal security precautions and scans. No attachments...just text. When I opened the email, the body of the message was very brief and broken English asking why God would love someone who has nothing to offer in return.
Although it's very hard to explain, in that very moment...I was broken.
Nghor was sincerely reaching out to a born again child of God. He was actually looking for answers about God and His plan of salvation for man. The email couldn't have been any more effective in changing my online direction had it been a Cease and Desist Order. I carefully weighed my options for a response. After a prayerful day of asking for guidance, I knew what God wanted from me...
There is nothing I can offer God that begins to repay the love He has shown to me. Nothing. What I can do those is be obedient to His Word and share with other people what God's love has done for me...personally...my testimony. God's plan for me is unique, as is His plan for you. Through the course of a dozen or so emails, I explained to Nghor how I had come to realize my plan and to accept that it was also a work in progress. He always responded with questions. I always answered to the best of my ability after thoughtful prayer and study in Scriptures. Nghor had access to a Bible and that helped.
Our online relationship lasted a little over two months. To this day, I don't know if Nghor ever accepted Christ as his Savior. I'm okay with that too. That wasn't in God's plan for me in this situation...as far as I know. He used a lone cry from the wilderness to do a little loving discipline with me. By sharing my testimony and reaching out to Nghor, He reiterated that His love is about choice. He graciously chose to give it...we must humbly chose to accept it. Debates and discussion may have a place in the grand scheme of things, but even the simplest minded child of God can witness to someone else by reflecting His love and the effect of His love in their life.
I try to be a much better steward of the Light these days...