Months after finding out I was pregnant, someone brought it to my attention that it seemed like my biggest hang-up with the whole thing was other people – what they thought of me, fear that they would judge me.
As much as I wanted to say this person was wrong. I knew that he was right. I knew that, ultimately, it didn’t matter what people thought of me; still, I couldn’t get it out of my mind.
Why did I care so much?
Of course, it never feels great when people talk about you or judge you. But, if that were actually happening I really didn’t know.
My response to this person was that it wasn’t so much caring what they thought as it was that I didn’t want to disappoint them.
This was very true when it came to certain people but I wasn’t concerned about disappointing every person I had ever known.
As it turns out, I did care what they thought about me.
Over my lifetime of being in church and almost my entire adulthood in ministry, I’ve heard a lot of conversations – opinions, really – about sin and Christians who do sinful things.
In fact, I’ve heard some say that you can’t be a true Christian and sin. Of course, sin in this context would exclude the “little” sins like gossip, gluttony, slander or even a “white lie” but certainly a big one like sexual sin would apply. People that participated in these sins were no longer “serving God”.
The thought of anyone placing me in this category was hurtful.
That’s why I cared.
It wasn’t just hurtful to me, as in a blow to my ego, but hurtful that anyone could potentially think I had “walked away from God”, willfully chosen not to be a follower of Christ.
And to take it a step further, I cared because… what if they were right?
I am no theologian but I would say I have a fairly good grasp on Bible doctrines. And, yet, here I was questioning my own salvation. I seriously wondered whether or not I was really a Christian.
I mean “real” Christians don’t sin, not big sins anyway.
I had bought into the broken theology that I had heard for so many years. The theology that says if we sin we are no longer saved.
Although, I would have said I didn’t believe that, when I actually found myself in sin – a big sin – it turns out that I did. Or I at least wondered.
I feel that after soul searching for over a year, I have a good understanding of “what went wrong”, why I participated in behaviors that do not align with God’s Word. But I also believe that during that time I still loved God. In fact, I know that I loved God. I still believed in Jesus Christ and the work He did on the cross. I still prayed, read my Bible and went to church – not that any of those disciplines make one a Christian because they don’t. The point is, I was still a believer, desiring and seeking a relationship with God and yet I sinned.
I didn’t sin because I wasn’t a Christian anymore and I certainly didn’t get kicked out of Christianity because I sinned.
Yes, I compromised my convictions. Yes, I failed to guard myself against temptation. And yes, I chose to please my flesh rather than obey God’s Word (which required repentance, as all sin does).
But I did not lose my salvation.
Any theology that teaches my actions can undo what Christ did for me on the cross is most definitely broken.