There is much to be said for growing up in a Christian home. I praise God for my Christian parents who taught me about God from an early age. God commands us to do just that for our children:
Deut. 6:5-7 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.  These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts.  Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. [NIV]
Yet I have seen something that has bothered me about this; what I will call the down side of growing up in a Christian home. It happened to the Israelites too. They became arrogant. They thought they had an inside track with God, because they were born Jews. I see that same type of attitude too often in Christians. I never realized it, but I had that attitude.
I thought I knew my Bible because I heard it preached every Sunday, I heard it read in my home. Not that I ever read it, but it was spoken of often and I believed I knew it as well as anyone. I thought I understood salvation. Oh, I understood that I was a sinner and that God loved me and sent His Son to die in my place and I asked Him to forgive me of my sins, but mostly it was head knowledge. I am not trying to say I didn't love Jesus and want to follow Him, but I am saying that I was arrogant without knowing it. I thought I had it all figured out, there was no reason to go deeper or investigate for myself, after all I wasn't like the sinners who didn't grow up in a Christian home.
I often hear from people who claim to have been Christians all their lives. That isn't to say they didn't have a salvation moment, but in their minds they have always been part of God's family. They often are writing me to complain that God allowed something bad to happen, or that He hasn't answered some prayer, etc... and they will say something like 'I am a good person.'
This is a red flag, because it shows that they are being arrogant about their salvation. God tells us that none of us is a good person:
Mark 10:18 "Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good--except God alone." [NIV]
Genesis 8:21 The Lord smelled the soothing aroma; and the Lord said to Himself, "I will never again curse the ground on account of man, for the intent of man's heart is evil from his youth; and I will never again destroy every living thing, as I have done. [NIV]
Romans 3:9-12 What shall we conclude then? Are we any better? Not at all! We have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under sin.  As it is written:
"There is no one righteous, not even one;
 there is no one who understands,
no one who seeks God.
 All have turned away,
they have together become worthless;
there is no one who does good,
not even one." [NIV]
My point is that we are all from the same putrid stock; the human race. We all need a savior just as badly as the next person. So it is great to teach our children God's word and about His great love for us, but we should never allow them to think they aren't just as in need of that love as the next person.
When I joined the Marine Corps and left home, I basically put Christ in a box and hid Him away. I didn't quit believing in Him, but I wanted to experience what the world had to offer. For the next 20 years I walked in the council of the evil one. I look back now and I can't believe I did many of the things I did.
During that time if you had asked me I would have admitted that I was sinning, but I would have still claimed that I was basically a good person. It was only after I came back to Christ that I realized just how evil I really was. It took coming back to Christ for me to truly see who I was in relationship to God. That wasn't a pleasant experience, but it was life changing!
Luke 7:36-47 Now one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, so he went to the Pharisee's house and reclined at the table.  When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee's house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume,  and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.
 When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, "If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is--that she is a sinner."
 Jesus answered him, "Simon, I have something to tell you."
"Tell me, teacher," he said.
 "Two men owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty.  Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?"
 Simon replied, "I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled."
"You have judged correctly," Jesus said.
 Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair.  You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet.  You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet.  Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven--for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little." [NIV]
This brings me to the title of this article, I am that woman! I hold no illusions any longer that I was ever a good person. I was rotten. I have murdered! No, don't call the police, I have not taken a physical life, yet I have hated in my heart. Jesus calls that murder. I have lusted in my heart after women who are not my wife. Jesus calls that adultery. I have coveted. I have lied. I could go on, but you get the point. The world might look at my life and see a pretty good guy, who made a few mistakes, but I know that I am as vile as they come. But it is that realization that makes me love God so much. I don't take His forgiveness for granted. I know I didn't deserve it! I know that He loved me, not because I was such a cute and lovable creature, but rather in spite of who I was, because of Who He is!
I look at a lot of Christians who have never strayed like I did, who seem to love little because they think they have not been forgiven of much. They will agree that they were sinners and needed a savior, but down deep they don't think they were very bad, so God's gift wasn't all that spectacular.
Were they less sinful than I was? I have no idea, but I know God's word says none of us is righteous or good. Is it that they were less sinful than me, or that they consider their sins less important, or less evil than I do mine? Have they truly been forgiven of less, or have their eyes been opened less? I don't know, I only know what my life was, and how much God loved me to offer me salvation.
I certainly am not advocating that people go out and live a sinful life so that they can better understand God's love. I regret so many things that I have done, but like all of us, I can't go back and change anything. I weep over my sins, not because they are able to keep me from God, in fact I think they draw me closer to Him, because they prove to me just who I am in relation to God. I weep over them, because I know that God loves me and my life proves it. I weep over them, because I know that God created me and loved me and the whole time knew what an evil being I would be.
I am often called self-righteous by people who don't like the way I uphold God's word and hold people accountable before God, but they are dead wrong. I have no righteousness at all other than what God has credited to my account, through my faith in His Son.
Do you want to love God more? Then examine your life truthfully and see what you have been forgiven for, it is life changing. Become that woman!
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