Refer to STEP 10: I choose to believe God still has a purpose for my life—a purpose for good and not evil.
Salvation is easy—it doesn’t require a thing from either you or me. That’s God’s part. He did it all; that’s what love, mercy, and grace are all about. That He loved you at your most unlovely spot is the essence of Christianity—what makes it so unique and special. At least, that’s what it is supposed to be about. That God was willing to reach down, touch you at your most vulnerable spot, and lift you up is what makes having a relationship with Him so desirable. Once that happens, regardless of how others attempt to interpret it, you are a child of His and always will be.
Unfortunately, people tend to forget the tenderness of their own experience, choosing instead to regiment a dynamic relationship, which can never be done successfully. Through their efforts, they make Christianity hard, rigid, unyielding, and unforgiving. They try and make a deeply personal experience into something cold, austere, and systematic.
If a Christian is smug and self-righteous, legalistic and condemning, haughty and judgmental, then how attractive is that? Not very—most people run from such an unappealing lifestyle. Who can blame them?
You recognize the type of people I’m describing—the heartlessly religious who are never wrong about anything. Sadly, Christianity has far too many people like these. They are the ones who condemn homosexuals, telling them they deserve to have AIDS. They call women who have aborted their babies murderers, forgetting that they, too, were no better.
The self-righteous lift up a version of Christ that is not the New Testament version—not even close, and yet these are the people most feared in churches—people eager to share their exacting, unyielding opinions. Their bitter sting keeps many from embracing God’s love, acceptance, and mercy.
That’s why being in recovery has such value. You’ve had to lean on God more than most. If you display love, joy, long suffering, and a genuine concern for those in need, then you are lifting up Christ the way you’re meant to, and that’s very attractive to hurting, desperate people searching for answers.
The choice is yours. If you’re smug and self-righteous, you will have a great impact for God—a negative impact. If you display love and graciousness, your impact will be positive.