“…it wasn’t enough to simply get these people saved. We needed to try to disciple them in their own context and to release them to ministry WITHOUT REQUIRING THEY COMMIT CULTURAL SUICIDE along the way.”
These are the words of Pete Greig and Dave Roberts from their book Red Moon Rising. This book is about how the 24/7 Prayer movement is awakening a new generation. I’m just a fourth of the way done with this book, but am having trouble putting the book down!
Reading the words, “…without requiring they commit cultural suicide…” evoked a deep response in my heart. People who are helping new believers walk into their identity with Christ without stripping away from them the things that make them who they are. Maybe this is a piercing, a tattoo, a haircut or color, or maybe a style of talking, or their dress. I have a tendency to put people in boxes. Making decisions about people based on first impressions. Do you know how wrong I am? A lot! But, people don’t want to sacrifice their communities or their families or their identity. This shift, to me, is about teaching freedom versus teaching conformity.
Two years ago? I was not walking with Jesus. My un-verbalized goal was to be a fiercely independent island that did not need any help from anyone. I would even seek out activities and projects that would demonstrate my ability to handle my life. Curse words flew out of my mouth with the greatest of ease. Depression and I had regular times together. Drinking was something that I would hide behind if a situation seemed awkward or I felt uncomfortable.
There was a sprinkling of people, none of whom even have names or faces left in my memory, who tried to tell me I needed to change. My hair wasn’t right. Or my language wasn’t proper. Or my clothing wasn’t just so. Maybe my attitude didn’t sit well. There was more than one table I wiped off as a waitress that had a bible track and no money waiting for me. I’ve had a stranger tell me all about my seemingly apparent damnation as I attempted to take his order inquiring about French fries or baked potato from behind the register inside the local diner. Phew. These messages made walls come up fast and reasons to not listen to what they were saying multiply. I had plenty of friends who liked me JUST the way I was. Thank you.
I’m not professing to be perfect, hear me, please: I am NOT perfect. And I KNOW those people from my past had great intentions. BUT!! I am so thrilled that my Savior, about Jesus meeting me EXACTLY where I was almost two years go. I was in a messy, broken, lonely pile of tears. And the message that pierced my heart was His message of love. Of love, and grace! Jesus was delighted to meet me there. He wasn’t put off by that fact that I had a tendency toward profanities, or that I had struggled with being overwhelmed with sadness. Or my heartache I was trying to cope with. God is SO much bigger than those things! Jesus is about a a personal relationship and accepts you RIGHT WHERE YOU ARE. God DELIGHTS in our differences of culture, language, dress, color, nationality, talents, ect. He made us all different, all beautiful!
While following Jesus there has been so much that has fallen off. I’m not struggling with depression, and cursing isn’t something I don’t feel like I need to do to communicate with others. These are just small outward examples of the incredible heart transformation Jesus has done in me.
Sharing is Caring 😀