My Story: Part 2

I think its shocking how much impact people in leadership really have on a teenager. You don’t really realize how much what they say really impacts who you are and what you believe.

I remember feeling like whatever they told me to do was what I had to do-regardless of how it made me feel. I remember feeling scared into believing things and doing things that now, years later, feel so manipulated and strange. Signing commitments that I would bring 3 friends to Christ by the end of the year–the idea was for us to understand the Great Commission and its call on our lives; however, what came out of it, at least for me was the loss of so many friends. I lost opportunities to commune with them, to connect with them, because I was taught on what I should say to the people who weren’t “saved.” I pushed my friends away telling them that I couldn’t be unequally yoked. To think about that now, to think about what I did and how many people I hurt because I signed a commitment…I didn’t understand grace; I didn’t understand love; I didn’t understand how to listen; I didn’t know how to let God show His love and mercy through me; I didn’t think that God was enough.

I hope that the people that I hurt have forgiven me because I can honestly say that to apologize for the things I said and the way I behaved in the midst of my superiority as a “Christian” is not enough. The Mandy Moore movie, “Saved” defines my high school experience. Students that belonged to this youth group walked around the halls of their high schools around the city wearing shirts that said “God Squad” and we treated everyone else like they weren’t cool enough to be in our group-because by our definition they were not “saved.” We took it upon ourselves to judge people and decide if they were walking with Jesus or not. I bought into a youth group and I bought into their ideas and terminology. To say these things about my youth group is so negative and so ungrateful-I am grateful because if I hadn’t “ended up” at one of their youth events I would not have taken the second to evaluate my life through the eyes of my Creator.

Leaders are influential. What they say, what they teach, how they talk to people makes a difference. I belonged to a church that worshipped a man, and when that man couldn’t meet the bar that they set-the bar that he set for himself, they outcasted him. I don’t believe that he should still be on a pulpit, but I do believe that excommunication isn’t the way of Jesus. And I also have a hard time with people using their sin and mistakes to further themselves in their ‘careers’ as Pastors-utilizing the media and celebrities to make yourself heard.

I am not blaming the church and I am not blaming other people for what I did. I didn’t take the time to ask God how He moves. I didn’t think for myself, I took the easy way and did whatever other Christ followers told me to do.

Why isn’t God enough for us? Why can’t we see the reality of how God moves in the Bible and in the past and see that He can move in that way now…today…here?

It is Christmas Eve. And to me, Christmas isn’t just about celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. It is about community. It is about celebrating grace, forgiveness, and the magnitude of love that our God has for us. Thats My King.

Merry Christmas.

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