Romans 12:2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.
The other night I was at a bar, listening to a band. Even though I had never been to that venue before, the atmosphere was all too familiar. The darkness. The loud music. The drunk people. The smoke. I went to the bathroom and there was a pack of women in there smoking pot. The whole place had a foggy feeling. Like a lost memory.
There was a woman there. I’ve thought about her a lot since that night. She was right in front of me with a man. He seemed to be her boyfriend, at least for the night. They were kissing and grinding and honestly, it was uncomfortable. I didn’t know where to look. She was drinking and dancing and wasn’t wearing much. But she caught my eye a few times mid dance. It was like she was looking for approval. Her man didn’t seem all that interested which was surprising to me. She was a beautiful woman on the outside. Long hair, fit body, clear skin, big eyes. But there was something missing. She had that Kardashian look about her…a natural beauty with way too much make up and a self consciousness that bordered on awkward. She was trying too hard. I felt sorry for her.
I saw myself in bars past. Dancing. On tables, in aisles, on stage. I smelled myself hungover and sorry. I remembered myself, sweaty and foggy and showing off. I was just having fun, I’d say. What a great night, we would recall. All my friends in the same boat. My throat scratchy and Sunday ruined. What’s the big deal?
When the hymn says “I was blind but now I see” I think of Romans 12:2. I was just doing what everyone else was doing. I wasn’t too over the top with my partying by comparison. It’s our culture, from high school, to college, to our 20’s and even into our 30’s and 40’s. This is what everyone around me was doing. I wasn’t a bad person. And neither is she.
I’m so glad Jesus enters right into the debauchery. He is not surprised by us. He is not offended. He calls us to more. He transforms us if we let Him.
So much of Christianity is whitewashed clean. We go to church in our Sunday best and we volunteer and we do what’s expected of us, pretending we were always this way. People on the outside look in and think they could never belong. They aren’t cleaned up and spit-shined enough. I dread the thought of all the pretending of church goers actually keeping others away from Jesus.
Here’s the thing…If Jesus came for anybody, He came for that woman in the bar. So eager to be seen. So desperate to be known. So hungry for approval.
I recognized her because she was me. I can’t forget her. And I’m sure beyond a shadow of a doubt, Jesus hasn’t forgotten her either.
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