By: Ginger Hughes
There have been times in my life when I found Sunday School or church to be intimidating. Perhaps it’s my introverted ways, but I can remember feeling nervous about walking into a new church or a new Sunday School room filled with people who already knew one another—who probably had history together and solid friendships. Even for someone like me, someone who “grew up” in church, who knows the language, and the way of things, it can be unnerving. I can easily feel like an “outsider,” even though I’m very much “in” Christ.
Some days I wonder how a non-believer views the Christian community. I wonder if they see the Christian community as a whole to be receptive and welcoming, kind and loving. I wonder if they would feel like an outsider if they graced the doors of the church.
And what of individual Christians? What about when they look at me and at you?
Do they see someone who is pious or someone who recognizes their own sinfulness?
Do they see someone puffed up with knowledge or someone with a humble spirit?
Do they see someone who has all the answers, or one who’s only answer is Jesus Christ—dead, buried, and resurrected?
Do they see someone who is all about self, or one who is all about others?
Do they see someone whose speech is filled with discord, vile language, and hate, or do they see someone who speaks unity, kindness, and love?
What do they see?
You know, I’m far from holy. I lose myself in frustrations and irritations. I forget gratitude. I speak unkind things to my husband and snap at my children. I lose my temper. I seek forgiveness daily and sometimes even ask God how in the world can He possibly love a sinner like me.
Yet, He does. And He loves you too.
And though I get so much wrong in this walk with Christ, one thing I hope to get right is sharing God’s amazing love for people. I want each person I meet to know of God’s love for them, to know His arms are open wide. I want them to know of His holiness, but also of His grace. I want them to know His righteousness, but also His forgiveness. I want them to know Jesus, and I don’t want to ever get in the way of that knowing.
We each meet non-believers every day in our jobs, in our schools, and in our communities. If their only view of God is seen through the lens of their interactions with us, what would they see?
Would they see a God who loves, who forgives, who extends grace?
Or would they walk away feeling like an outsider, with no desire of ever becoming a Christ follower?
-Ginger Hughes is the wife of a pastor, a mother of two and an accountant. She is a Georgia native currently living in the foothills of North Carolina. Her passion for writing is fueled by the desire to offer encouragement, grace and a deeper understanding that we are all God’s children. Her blogging for Nurturing Faith is sponsored by a gift from First Baptist Church of Gainesville, Ga. Additional writings may be found at nomamasperfect.com.