Normally, when I get one of those forwarded "Christian emails" it is some type of SPAM: Either it says to forward this to 287 people if you love Jesus and a little boy with cancer and two heads will be healed or a random prayer request for a friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend's-cousin's-adopted-daughter's-neice's-half-uncle. They usually are loaded with those little "forward arrows" because so many people don't actually take the time to clean up an email before they sent it on, and the text is disjointed and spread across several lines. This drives me crazy, and all of those types of emails end up in the delete folder...!
Everyone once in a while, I get a great Christian email that I actually want to share. This particular one came via my Scrappin'-With-Faith friend, Sharlotte:
One day God was looking down at Earth and saw all of the rascally behavior that was going on. So he called one of His angels and sent the angel to Earth for a time.
When he returned, he told God, 'Yes, it is bad on Earth: 95% are misbehaving and only 5% are not.
God thought for a moment and said, 'Maybe I had better send down a second angel to get another opinion.' So God called another angel and sent him to Earth for a time.
When the angel returned he went to God and said, 'Yes, it's true. The Earth is in decline; 95% are misbehaving, but 5% are being good.'
God was not pleased. So He decided to email the 5% that were good, because he wanted to encourage them, and give them a little something to help them keep going. Do you know what that e-mail said?
No? Yeah...well...I didn't get one either. :(
I wanted to share it not just because it said "rascally" which gave me a giggle considering so much of human behavior can be summed up as "horrifying," "stomach-turning," "pitiful," or "depraved," -- not merely rascally, but also because it struck me as simple, yet poignant.
So many of us are quick to point the finger that "the other guy" - we are sure that WE are doing all of the right things... WE are acting Christian... WE aren't doing anything wrong...
But we forget that God doesn't divide sin into neat piles of "good," "bad," and "ugly." He doesn't put the murders and molesters in a different category than the ones who "borrow" office supplies or who gossip about their freaky neighbor, or who lie, or who cheat. It is sooooooo hard for us to comprehend that idea because humans DO weigh sin. We are quick to separate ourselves from the "criminals" or the "undesirables" - thinking that our minor transgressions aren't nearly as bad.
Jesus talks about this in John Chapter 8 (NIV translation):
But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery.
They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, "Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?" They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.
But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?"
"No one, sir," she said.
"Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin."
No one was able to cast a stone at the woman because NO ONE was without some sin of their own. I did not get God's email because while I try to live my life in a Christian manner, I invariably screw up each and everyday. It might be "small" things... cursing, socially-acceptable-little-white-lies, watching garbage on TV... but it is sin nonetheless.
God knows this.
And He loves me just the same.
And because He loves me and all of my faults and sins, I am encouraged to try each day to think and behave just a little better than yesterday. In fact, I often end my prayers to Him with, "Thank you, Lord, for your blessings... and help me to be a better wife, mother, and Christian tomorrow than I was today."
How about you?
Did you get God's email? And what are you going to change in your life to make God proud of your choices?
Prayers for you this week... and your 2nd-cousin's-grandmother's-half-uncle's-step-son. *wink