Growing up, I was the “good girl”. Good grades, hardly ever caused trouble at home, school, or church. Never went through a wild phase, at least not outwardly. I tended to hold everything in. I believed that in order for God and others to love me, I must perform. I MUST BE GOOD. I MUST DO GOOD. More than anything, I sought validation and love. I still struggle with this daily.
Somewhere along the way, I morphed into a condemning, judgemental Pharisee. No one would have thought it looking at me from the outside. I was outwardly what every other Christian looked like. Inside, thoughts swarmed me. The thought that I was better because of my behavior. Thoughts that they were getting what they deserved because they chose to do the wrong thing.
I didn’t become judgemental and condemning overnight. It crept in, here and there. An inner struggle overcame me. I was jealous and yet also judging.
My own sister and I were polar opposites. I was fearful and shy….she was outgoing and loud. I secretly wanted to be like her, even though she was almost always in trouble.
(Flash forward to today)
A while back, I was in a church where the preacher taught on the story of the prodigal son. He asked us to find ourselves in the story. I could identify with EVERY role in the story, but the one that resonated so strongly…the other brother. I am the “other sister”. I recently learned that the role of this other brother should have been to go out and find the young brother and help to restore fellowship between the Father and the son.
Wow…My role was to love my brothers and sisters in spite of their choices. I think many Christians are guilty of doing what I have done. We come to Christ. We attend our churches. We get involved. We make church friends. We have socials and parties and fellowships with those friends. We forget those who are not in our church friend circle. We become afraid that their “unholiness” might smear off on us. Or we just get too busy with our churchy activities that we have no time for anyone else. We confuse being in the world with being of the world. Somewhere along the way I got too busy to pursue a relationship with others who aren’t “like me”.
Over the past few years, God has been on my case. He’s been moving me into areas and communities where everyone isn’t “just like me”. And I am so thankful. I want to be a different kind of “other brother”…one who restores and rebuilds what was lost but now has been found.