He lobbed the question at me and it hit like a gym class dodgeball to the face. I never was too good at ducking things.
I worry sometimes that I build myself up too much on this blog, make myself seem too spiritual. I pray. I try. That’s true enough. And also I fail, a lot, at the two most important things: loving God and loving my neighbors.
I let fear strangle me into silence. I let tension strain me until I snap and snarl. I give in to apathy, close my ears to God’s voice, say it without saying it: My comfort is more important than your suffering.
I could go on.
Getting smacked with the question, right out loud, made me realize it more than ever before: I don’t deserve Jesus. I don’t deserve to call myself a Christian.
Nobody does. That’s the Good News.
Jesus doesn’t save people because they deserve it. He saves people because he just wants to – because that’s what he does. Even people like Peter, who denied ever knowing him when he was about to be killed. Even people like Paul, who at one time hunted down his followers to kill them.
Deserving it doesn’t enter the equation.
And that’s why, since I became a Christian, I can finally see my flaws without being paralyzed by them. I don’t have to be some kind of shiny, perfect person. I just have to admit that I’m broken, ask for forgiveness, get back on the horse of loving God and loving people.
I do call myself a Christian. And I will keep calling myself that, boldly, scandalously. Because Jesus died so we could be forgiven all our flaws and failures, so we no longer have to be slaves to sin, so we can live in love instead. Yes, even me. Hallelujah.