One of my teen daughters had friends come over to hang out. Our town and public school system are very diverse. One thing I really love about this town is that there are people from all types of backgrounds and we don’t all look the same.
This morning I was in our basement restroom and my heart stopped when I noticed the light switch cover in the bathroom. Beneath the silver duct tape is a confederate flag. We just moved about a year ago and the previous home owners were from Alabama. There were many hints of Southern culture left in this home.
My sweet daughter was worried that friends coming over with darker skin would be offended by the symbol of that flag.
It is difficult to put my emotional thoughts into words. Maybe that is why I feel compelled to sit and type this out.
First I felt a heart warming pride that my child considered the feelings of others. Out of respect of her and her friends I think I will just go purchase a new switch cover.
Second I felt a sadness. A sadness that greed led to slavery in our country. A sadness for all the life lost in war over the sinful greed. A sadness over the divisions there are just because of skin color all over our world.
Third I feel angry that we even have to be so politically correct and walk on egg shells because of hatred. If we all loved as we should there would be no such thing as political correctness.
Then lastly my thoughts and emotions turn to the symbol of the cross. The cross that my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ died on. It is a symbol of true freedom. A symbol of the freedom of the sin that enslaves us. The sin that has this world so broken and torn. Sin that has caused the hatred, greed and division. Jesus came to provide the one and only way to healing from sin that enslaves us. He came to this earth as a very poor helpless baby. Led a life without sin. He demonstrated the perfect way to love others from all walks. He demonstrated how to love the sinner and not fall to the temptation to sin. His name and the symbol of the cross causes an emotional stir in everyone. It may be love and thankfulness or hatred, but there is an emotion. For the cross and the name of Jesus I will not cowar to political correctness. It is by his name and what He did for us on the cross every human being can have true freedom and peace. He died for all people and for all sin. He rose again on the third day proving He is God.
1 John 4:7-11 “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might love through Him. This is love; not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”
To my precious children. An apology is owed to you. You see I am not perfect. Lately I have heard the remark “I am not perfect like YOU!” It is a rebuttal that has sliced me to the core. That is the one thing I have not wanted my children to see me as. I have not wanted them to feel any pressure that they need to be “perfect” for my love or approval. As a preacher’s daughter that is exactly what I rebelled against in my teen and early adulthood years!! I couldn’t stand the pedestal I felt pressured by the world to stand on. Temptations and the need for friend’s approval and popularity overwhelmed me. I look back and often wonder how I even survived other than by the sheer Grace of God. I was a hypocrite I was a fence rider. My faith I had as a child was constantly being suffocated by the world. This hard headed mom was once a very strong willed child who had to constantly do things her own way by her own self first.
Thankfully God did not give up on me and turn His back as I did to Him. Oh I had many an idol I placed before Him. I skipped out on church some, but you see I was a hypocrite. I was all about image. I had to make my dad look good, but at every ounce of freedom I was pushing my sin and His forgiveness to the full. Sometimes I would listen and feel conviction when I was in church. Other times I had my self so justified in my own mind I felt nothing… Then consequences of my own personal choices started to occur. The consequences brought guilt, shame, embarrassment, and loneliness. There was no one to blame but me. I was feeling the fullness of my burden of sin. Definitely something I didn’t really carry at age five when I accepted Jesus. It was because of my mistakes and imperfectness that I came to realize the magnitude of what Jesus did on that cross for me. He took that burden of sin and shame to the cross and died the death I deserve. Do I wish I hadn’t made mistakes? Yes I would go back and do things different. Would I have the deep relationship with Jesus I have now were it not for my mistakes. Most likely not. So I am grateful Jesus doesn’t give us do overs He washes our sin away instead. It is an individual journey. Of course I want to protect you from making bad choices. You may not make the same mistakes I did, but you will make your own.
This leads me to why I believe church is so very important. Like our pastor just said on Sunday usually when people stop coming it is because they are not liking the conviction. Conviction does not feel good. Not at first. Now I have come to welcome it! I desperately desired to hear the Word of God! I desperately need fellow Christians, sinners saved by Grace, praying for me. I go to church because I have watched the power of God’s Word and prayers of God’s people transform lives, my life included! Because I remain connected in worship and prayer with fellow Christians I get to witness miracles. My week is a hot mess when I don’t go. This I noticed in very early adulthood. When I didn’t make it to church and get the spiritual refreshment I was a complete wreck. Weeks I made it there was just enough strength and accountability to get through what ever was handed to me.
You my dear children have also brought a much deeper understanding of God’s love. As I would do anything I can for you. I would die for you. I can not take away your sin. I can not choose following Jesus for you. God made a perfect creation and gave mankind free will to choose to love and obey Him. Wow if Adam and Eve only had one thing God asked and only one sneaky snake tempting them to disobey and they STILL sinned. Sheesh it is no wonder we are such a mess now as sin and its consequences have multiplied over and over. There is a constant bombardment of temptations.
So your mom is actually a very imperfect person who desperately needs Jesus every moment of every day. I need to go to church to worship and pray with other believers. I need God’s word to teach me and correct me daily, I need to hear the Word preached at least once a week to be given a more biblical perspective of life.
So I sincerely apologize to have given any pressure that you have to be perfect. Jesus tells us to come as we are. He is the one who is perfect and makes us right. No matter your mistakes I love you. You will have to face your own consequences and I pray your journey will lead you back to and closer and closer to God.