Grace [Sunday, Dec. 30, 2007, 5:04 pm]
There was stuff I wrote, but realized it sounded like PMS-ing, so I decided to get rid of it. On a different note, I've realized that I've often held onto something that can be considered something of an obsession with purity. You know, the idea that if you date more than one person before marriage you're somehow impure, or that if you kiss your boyfriend and don't marry him, you've lost your chastity. Okay, so I didn't quite believe that, but I had that attitude going on at times. I think it stems from noble ambitions... purity is a wonderful thing, and should be guarded. But purity doesn't make much sense unless it's viewed in light of God's grace. Otherwise it's just judgment and legalism.
My roommate has slept with a lot of guys. But she is a wonderful person who has been great to live with, and is a good friend as well. I have a feeling that if I'd roomed with her a few years ago, I might have been more apt to view her in a judgmental light. I'm ashamed to admit that there have been times when my own purity has taken a higher priority than my witness to other people. A few years ago that might have been the case here. I might have focused so much on how the things she did affected "my purity" that I would have failed to affect her. I would like to think that God has helped to open my eyes over the years.
Growing up in the somewhat sheltered environment that I did, I was exposed to some wonderful things. But because of that, there were a lot of things I wasn't exposed to - at that age, it was a good thing. However, being around the church so much, and being taught so much sometimes caused me to develop something of an "us and them" mentality. It's not that I didn't know we were all sinners regardless of our origin... I just hadn't "experienced" it that much.
But living with this roommate and hearing about the things she does has caused me to actually be around the kinds of things I had otherwise only heard about. And yet she's actually told me that she wishes she was more like me, and hadn't given her virginity to a random guy... and I'm pretty certain she's not just saying that to humor me. She's asked me if I see her as a horrible person... and the truth is that I don't... while I know the things she does are wrong, I have been able to see myself in her.
It has all taught me something very important: we are exactly the same in so many ways. I could have been her. She could have been me. The most important concept here is that the only thing that separates me from her or anyone else is the grace of God. It's not because I'm a good person in any sense of the word, or because of my upbringing or the church I went to... only God's grace has kept me from seeking to fulfill my desires the exact same way that she has. It was a humbling realization, but also a very freeing one, to me... I don't have to try to uphold something that I've built on my own, because I never could anyway.
It's not that I'm trying to de-value sin. Wrong things are still wrong... but I've realized it's difficult to even begin to understand grace while I still subconsciously hold onto the idea that there are wrong things I "couldn't do." Or even wouldn't do... as long as I have that attitude, I can't understand grace, because I could and would do anything sinful if it wasn't for that grace. Not that anyone can ever understand God's grace... it's just that I would like to think I understand it a little clearer than I did before, and I would love to keep learning more...
Vitality - Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2009