All My Stains

This entry was posted by on Tuesday, 16 May, 2006 at

A couple of weeks ago, I became increasingly aware that all of my words and thoughts had the horrible stench of regret.

The team I went with to Louisiana was to give a “report” back to the church. I have thus far not been able to talk about that trip in great detail with anyone. I could tell you about the work we did or show you pictures of destroyed houses, refrigerators on roofs, cars in trees… but I can not describe actually being there. I have not even tried.

At the time, I felt that going there was the best thing that I ever did. I could perhaps say that coming home and forgetting all about it was the worst, though that is probably not accurate. Regardless, seeing the team again, hearing the stories and watching some of the footage only reminded me how little my life had actually been changed by this “life-changing” experience. I was in a dark place before I left, and when I came home, I went straight back into it.

Yet, knowing they were there did not remove the stains of regret. What could I do, really?
What can wash away my sins?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus

It may seem hard to believe now, but I actually started my website as an evangelism tool. I wanted my friends and my family to follow along and discover what I discovered. Perhaps this goal inspired me to be more skeptical than anyone I might possibly talk to, so that if I could be convinced I could be assured that others would be as well. Of course, it was also terribly important that I not look like a fool.

Sometimes I try to imagine myself explaining the Gospel to one of my family or friends. It really is embarrassingly unrealistic from a practical, worldly viewpoint. This hypothetical person will always ask me, “And you really believe this, do you?” To which my rational, practical mind will always have to concede, “Well, not really, no.” I wholeheartedly believe in the teaching of the Bible, but I have a great deal of trouble swallowing the history.

My world religions professor said that the main difference between Western and Eastern religions is that we want to know, “Is it true?” whereas they ask, “Does it work?”

I have seen the people in New Orleans, who lost everything and had no choice but to trust in God, and then we showed up to do the work that no one wanted to do… for free. There were even people on our team with broken lives that God worked to repair as they focused on serving Him. I did not go there to glorify God. I suppose I did go there with some intention of helping people, but even that was secondary to the fact that I really just wanted a change of scenery.

How can I serve You, Lord, when I do not love You?
How can I love You, if I do not know You?
How can I know You when I can not see?
How can I see if You do not open my eyes?

Is it really my fault that I don’t believe? What more can I possibly do, when the Bible says that there is nothing I can do in the first place? Am I not searching hard enough, or looking in the right place? If someone else was seeking God more diligently, would they then find Him and be able to boast? Or is that precisely the problem? Look at me, I read the Bible cover to cover! Look at me, I have gone to church every Sunday for three years! Look at me, I won’t stop seeking and questioning until I know the absolute truth. All the while I look with disdain on children who get baptized, saying things like, “When I was four years old, my mom told me about Jesus!”

Still covered with the stains of regret; my heart full of trash that I can not remove. I don’t care if Jesus was the Christ, or if he really said the things attributed to him. I don’t care if he even existed at all. I’m not interested right now in whether or not it’s true, does it work? Does Jesus Christ have the power to change lives? It seems that he does. Then how about my life? I am ready for the seeking to stop and the healing to begin.

For my unbelieving friends and family, I don’t know what to tell you anymore. This whole time, there must have been three things that I wasn’t saying for every one thing that I did anyway. All I can say now is that if you see a change in me, you might ask yourself if maybe there is something to this Christianity after all. Otherwise, you might as well keep doing what you are doing.

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