The newest issue of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine arrived last week. As usual, it is a blessing to me - a source of encouragement, and a vast array of some serious resources for any style of homeschooler. But there was one article by Jenefer Igarashi that was so real, I just had to blog about it. I am not going to quote her article, entitled The Unlovables: My Reluctant Testimony, so be sure to grab the winter issue and read it for yourself. But her article provoked my thoughts - which I will share here:
I found myself in a similar situation - pregnant and unmarried. My husband and I had been living together for 3 years, but had never taken a commitment very seriously. I was not a Christian, and although I knew who God was, I lived my life separated from Him. During my pregnancy, I started to feel that something was missing - that something being God - and I turned to the only place I knew at the time I might find Him - the church. My experience was not what Jen described - the loving support from believers - but more a judgmental glance, an indignant comment, and a circle being drawn leaving me on the outside. Baby showers were hosted for the "married" pregnant women in the church - and I remained invisible. I know that some of my experience was due in large part to my overwhelming feelings of guilt and shame, and even so, there were specific things said and done that made me feel that not only could the church not love me, but God could not possibly love me.
It took a long time before I was able to see past "the church" and allow God to speak to my heart about what He has to say about my sin. When I gave my life to Him, there was no more condemnation. And yet a few years ago in Sunday school, somebody inadvertently put the shame right back in my lap. This particular couple would come to our church with their "anti-abortion" stickers blazing on the rear bumper of their car, and their legalistic judgmental condemnation (the very thing that drives young women into the back alley entrances of abortion clinics) on their faces. During prayer request time, this man was asking for prayer for his niece who had recently given birth "out of wedlock", and blah blah blah, but they didn't want her to think that they condoned what she had done, yadda yadda yadda. I sat for a while as he rambled on feeling the shrinking, diminishing feeling of shame. When I finally found my voice, I was able to share that I too had a child "out of wedlock". I also was able to encourage that man to live out his convictions, and support his niece as she attempted to raise this child on her own - buying diapers, and baby food, and whatever else she may need. (The less Christlike sentiment in my head at the time was "Quit buying bumper stickers and put your money here your mouth is!" I might have also thought "freak" and then sure and sudden conviction and repentance!)
Sin is sin - and as believers we have to call it what God calls it. There is no doubt that sex outside of marriage is sin. Aren't we to help those up who stumble? Why do we look at that particular sin as if it is so heinous - and yet gloss over our own materialism, gluttony, gossip, etc. as if they are nothing. In God's sight all sin is equal.
I think that in the Christian community we need a constant reminder - there but for the grace of God go I! I've been there - I've done that - I have the t-shirt - with a big scarlet letter branded that has since been washed white with the scarlet blood of Jesus!