A friend recently told me that I appeared too “religious” in my blog posts and writings and suggested that I tone down my references to Jesus.
I was left speechless for several moments and eventually asked, “Why?”
She said that many perceived the word Jesus as offensive and it made them uncomfortable. If I wanted to reach more people I should refrain from using it as much– so others would feel more open to what I had to share.
Her comment stirred up memories and emotions within me of when I first came to believe in God– Jesus.
My neighbor, a Christian lady, had asked me to start running. I accepted her offer, and while we ran, she did most of the talking. As a first-time runner, I found it slightly difficult to breathe and run at the same time which made carrying on a conversation near impossible. Since she had a captive audience with me, she took the opportunity to share her love of God and what He meant in her life.
I had been raised in the church but never thought God loved me. I felt that He was unattainable and elusive. But my morning runs with Gina opened a door for me to believe it was possible that God loved me and desired a relationship.
I wanted what my neighbor had–peace, joy, happiness, love. She told me if I prayed and asked God to come into my life and fill my heart He would.
And I trusted her.
So one day, I went into the bathroom (the only place I could be alone at the time) with my dusted-off bible and prayed, “God, please come into my heart. Gina said you loved me, and I want to believe her. Please show me the way. But if it’s okay, I want to leave Jesus out of this. He’s too radical, and I don’t want people to think I’m a ‘Jesus freak.’”
I laugh at those words now. God probably laughed too and thought, Okay Amy, but just wait– one day you’ll call Him Friend.
And today Jesus is my Friend but most importantly He’s my Savior.
I can relate to those who think Jesus is too radical because He is– radical about me, about you, about every living person.
He came so we could have full access to the living God. How awesome is that?
Everything Jesus did was considered extreme and crazy. He said He was God, which intimidated many people– including me at one time.
God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are all-in-one but at the same time– different. Now if that’s not confusing and mystifying, I don’t know what is.
But the more I delved into God’s Word, the more He opened my eyes to the love of Jesus and the more real He became.
It took time but finally got “IT” and although the name Jesus may offend some people, He’s my lifeline now.
I pray that through my actions and words, others will experience Jesus just as I once did with my neighbor.
It’s not about shoving doctrine down a someone’s throat or standing on a street corner with a shaved head, and a rose–it’s about being a conduit for God’s love and leading them into a relationship with Him.
And if people quit reading, or move on, because of the name Jesus then that’s okay. They learned what they needed and hopefully when ready they’ll return.
We are called to plant seeds love. It’s God’s job to water.
God has the power to change a person’s heart– He did with mine.
I thank Jesus every day for not being offended by my “offensive” behavior. And I pray that compassion and tolerance will overflow all those who feel insulted by His name and that one day the eyes of their hearts will be opened!
In the loving name of Jesus,
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Beautifully written Amy Angel