Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Stumbling blocks

When you have a chance, go check out Lindsay's blog, Suburban Turmoil. In particular, check out this post and this one, being sure to read the (incredibly polite and open) discussions in the comments.

This breaks my heart. God is working in Lindsay, drawing her to him - and it is other Christians who are getting in the way. The common refrain among commenters - of any faith (or non-faith) background - is that the biggest hindrance to their spiritual life is other Christians.

Good grief.

At the moment we place our trust in Christ, He accepts us. Just as we are. We don't have to do anything - clean up our life, stop smoking, start wearing denim jumpers - to make ourselves acceptable. Nothing we do would be good enough anyway. If He extends that grace - unmerited favor - toward us, who are we to withhold like treatment from our brothers and sisters in Christ?

We all start at different points on the road to Christ-likeness, at whatever point we first place our trust in Him. God is our compass; He will lead us, step by step on the path that will change our character and behavior to better reflect Jesus. But here's the thing: while we have the same Compass, we aren't all given the same map to use. Just as each of us starts at a different point on the map, each of us will take different routes to get to the goal.

The goal is the same; the particular steps we take to get there will vary.

Perhaps I've been convicted that smoking is a dirty, nasty habit that pollutes the precious body God has given me. Maybe you are a two pack a day smoker who really needs to work on truly understanding that God not only loves you, but will not give you up once you belong to Him. That you smoke and I don't doesn't make me a better Christian than you, it simply means God is working in us in different ways and places in our lives.

We need to stop putting stumbling blocks in front of each other, but instead cheer each other along the path God has them on.

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