Something that is said too freely. I speak more about my own utterances than anyone else’s.
At one stage, I did hate church. I had only been a Seventh-Day Adventist for a couple years at this point and I had never experienced a colder place than an Adventist church. From being an Anglican, where all my neighbours attended and chatted about gardens and local business around the tea and biscuit table; to being a Pentecostal where everyone was too passionate to be cold, coming into the church that was supposed to ‘have the light’ really shocked me. I was outwardly different and aware that people thought I was odd. It was only years later, when I had made some of the best friends I’ve ever had, that I was informed that people just didn’t know how to take my eccentricity. They were nervous to approach me.
Since that time, God has worked wonders in my life. I’ve recently passed my practical driving test and I found out today that I passed my French Oral exam (I got a 2:2. Not a fantastic grade, but I’d been anticipating a fail so I’ll take what I’ve been given). But also, I’ve grown as a person. My life is genuinely better. My dad’s life is better. Most people, when they find out how he was before, just can’t believe it. He was never a bad dad, but looking back on our old lives, before both of us became Christians, it’s like meeting two different people.
With that in mind, sometimes I have to ask whether I’m a good witness for God. Sure, I tell people about God, but what does my life say about it?
Today someone tried to persuade me to leave church, after I’d complained to them about something. This person is very anti-God and I’m not entirely sure if they respect my beliefs (I’m just judging by the mocking company they keep). Now, I’m not someone who believes in painting a Utopian picture of church to luuure in the un-believers. That’s just dishonest and unnecessary. However, if God has truly worked wonders for me, should I complain as much as I do? I believe in only complaining if you plan to do something about it—otherwise, keep shtum! So even though I’m in no way tempted by the offer to leave the church, I can’t really be surprised if people think I am. If I’m going to complain so much, what do I expect?
And what’s hilarious is that I don’t complain as much as I used to. I can only imagine how many atheists/agnostics I bored in the past with my ramblings.
I love God. I hate religion without God, because I agree that it has caused a lot of grief for people and has been used as a tool to control, subjugate and frighten. But these things will happen because we live in a sinful world, with humans whose natural choice is to sin anyway. With that in mind, I can’t entertain anti-God thoughts from others or encourage negative images of Him.
I shouldn’t emanate them, either.
So this week, I’m praying for more positivity. I can’t be a good witness if I’m complaining all the time. God’s done too much for me to behave like that…