I am so sorry.
I’m sorry for coming off as judgmental. I’m sorry if I sound pushy or snide or arrogant or condescending.
I’m sorry if I ever seem to be trying to shove religion down throats. (It only makes people gag.)
And most of all, I’m sorry if the things I say and how I actually live don’t line up; I’m sorry if my faith has not manifest itself through my actions, because that gives off a most terrible impression of a God who I want to honor with my life to the best of my abilities.
And I’m so dreadfully sorry if that terrible impression has turned any of you off to God, the salvation He offers, and the peace He wants you to have.
I am sorry.
I am sorry if you are my friend or family member and I have not shared with you why I have the faith that I have. I’m sorry for my selfishness, my fear, and my apathy and complacency.
I’m sorry if you don’t know my God. I’m so, so sorry. Because you are really missing out.
And I can’t explain it to you, not really, and still come off as rational or sane. I can’t promise that by knowing God that you’ll stop drinking, or have an awesome marriage, or well-behaved kids. Life’s not guaranteed to be easy or understandable; you won’t have all the answers. No matter how much you pray. No matter how much you go to church. No matter how much you learn about God. No matter how many good things you do in the name of God–life here on Earth is freaking hard; there will always be confusion, frustration, and pain. You might go hungry. You might suffer. You might be killed.
I can only tell you what I know: God is love. He is forgiveness, grace, mercy. Peace, and hope.
I know that I am weak, weak, weak. I know that I don’t have in me to battle my own demons. I know that I rebel for no other reason than I don’t like being told what to do. I love to go against the grain just to be different (and difficult). I love to irritate the crap out of Caleb just to get a rise out of him. I love the taste of alcohol, and I crave it, and if left to my own devices I’d be drunk all day every day.
I know that I was struggling. I was actually drowning and I was in total denial. I was fighting and I didn’t even know why. I was making bad choice after bad choice, knowing that I’d pay for it later–and I didn’t care. I wandered. I hit rock bottom. I broke. And I almost took my whole family down with me.
I’ve never had all my shit together. I’ve never been strong enough or smart enough to do life on my own, at least not with any significant amount of happiness or success.
And I’m grateful. Because that weakness? Has shown me my need. It points me to God. It reminds me of what I am without the hope that He provides. It gives powerful testimony to God’s healing power and love.
God is faithful. He forgives, and He lifts and He restores.
That is my humbling experience.
My heart hurts for you. Everyone has a different journey. Maybe you’re on the right track. Maybe you’ve made all the right decisions and maybe you don’t need any help. Maybe God has let you down. Maybe His people have let you down. Maybe people claiming to be His have turned you off. Maybe you’ve found something different. Maybe you just can’t make sense out of it.
I’m not talking about mindlessly following a certain set of rules, carefully avoiding anything that would burst a carefully constructed Christian bubble. I’m not talking about being good just so you can go to Heaven. I’m also not talking about heading straight to your local Baptist church, walking down that green-carpeted center aisle, and reciting a generic prayer.
But I promise you, I promise you: a relationship with God is worth pursuing.