Church classes

I have fallen in a trap in the past I dread ever falling again: worrying too much what people say or think and acting to protect that image of me. Today, however, I wonder if I've care too little of what people think and I've even acted out just to care less if they talk or even give them something to talk about.Not very proud of this reaction and not gonna hide behind the it's-a-human-thing excuse.

I find heart in that this too is within God's plan for me and it has served a purpose.
I've grown up in church. There, social classes were not rich and poor, local and foreigner. The "church classes" were "spiritual" and "none-spiritual" or "less-spiritual" and we separated into such. My closest friends were the "spiritual" ones or the ones wanting to grow spiritually. How nice it sounds, doesn't it? We didn't shun the "less spiritual" if they were willing to grow, instead we would help them; and we would protect our spiritual lives from the "none-spiritual" that didn't want to grow. All of this, amongst "believers."

I was pretty popular at church, well-known amongst pastors and leaders. However, I was completely unknown to the "none-spiritual". Oh, they knew my face but not my friendship. Actually, I didn't know how to relate to them. I was very much rejected by them (with good cause I might add). I was so self-righteous I would tell the teacher when my classmates from the church's CHRISTIAN school were cheating during a test. I would barely ever go off track. If I was told to do this, I would; if I was told not to, I wouldn't; say this, I would; dont say this... you get the picture. I was told to stay away from bad influences! I was never adviced, though, to cultivate a relationship with my brother.

A partying, dating, no-church attender, I lost almost three years of my brother's life because he would keep away from his goody two-shoes sister and I would keep away from my bad-influence brother. How could his pristine sister ever relate to him? I don't know when it was that my life stopped revolving around church (Monday Theology class, tuesday prayer meeting, wednesday mid-week meeting, thursday band practice, friday youth group, saturday youth church, sunday church); I am so glad it did! When was I gonna have time for my brother?

I always wanted to practice what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 9:21
21 To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law.
I wanted to learn to relate to my brother in order to win him. No, not by partying, dating, or going against my convictions. Just simply by showing interest in his interest. He was into poi (fire dancing), so I learned poi to be close to him. A simple thing as learning something he likes made us come so close. He would brag to his friends his sister could do poi, he was my teacher, and his sister was a decently good female poi dancer. We would spend hours training and learning. He would ask me to go out with him to locations where he could poi and I could advice him and record his new moves During those times, he would tell me of his likes and dislikes, friends, his thoughts and desires, his struggles. It was then that I realize I had missed-out on my brother's life and I wasn't going to do so anymore.

During this time, so many people asked me why I would spend less time seving at church. How could I be going out with my brother and his friends (most of them weed-loving hippies) to do poi? Well, they taught me a lot. With the struggles most of them went through, I was surprised they weren't bitter. 
This was a turning point for me. I had to be able to relate with everyone if I was ever gonna really serve Christ. And a hard truth, I had not learn to do this at church and, even less, in church. I hadn't even learn to relate to the "none spirituals" at church! This had to change.

So, during the whole post I've written "spiritual", "less spiritual", and "none spiritual" rightly in quotations not to quote but to show my sarcasm. Yes, sarcasm! Turns out, that the "spirituals" I grew up with are no longer at church and their testimonies are not godly, the "none or less spiritual" are still there, some being huge examples. You can't tell if someone is spiritual or not. No, the fact that they are 24/7 at church and following the leaders a 100% doesn't make them spiritual. No, just because you are a teenager that parties or dates doesn't mean God is not working on you. No, you can't judge who will be who or do what! God is the one doing the work and the only one that knows the heart.

I see so many good brothers and sisters in church today who truly love the Lord, but they are not practicing compassion and love with the brothers and sisters in church that are cold. I see them being unable to relate with those outside their "church class." I have such a huge variety of friends now: In church, not in church, "spiritual" (in the church's eye), "not spiritual" (again in the church's eye), wanting to grow, resisting to grow, mature, immature, in need, in abundance, seeking God, hardened... and I realize that is me also. I'm not always perfect, no matter how much I tried to look it (not anymore if you remember my childish acting-out I mentioned).

I learned that in these I'm-not-perfect times is when you are relateable to others. I don't have to be afraid of failing, for when I am weak, He is strong. He has been strong! He has showed me His love in this journey of mine. He is showing me to show more love. I fail miserably at this. So miserably. But I will try again, and again, and again. So, if you see me hanging out with the church's low class or if my sin is more present (it always has been but now I don't hide it), know that I am happily being taught by God.

I don't know if it's our proud, sinful nature or just the way God works but before finding balance, we go from one extreme to the other. I wonder if I've gone from good girl to bad girl. I don't think I completely have, but there are many things I need to change. To me, it's all good because "He who has been forgiven more, loves more", and I love God today more than yesterday. Many consider Israel's wandering in the desert a waste of time, but it too was in God's plan. If in whatever happens in your life you seek God's face, it will all be for the better. After all, it was His plan. And in my "stray" days a little away from church, I was taught by weakness and grace and uncoditional love to relate with everyone. 

Dear Lord, 
I have still so much to learn. I need to learn balance. Balance between living in the world and being of the world. Balance between becoming like the world to win the world and not letting go of my God-given convictions I must preserve and in most cases go back to. Teach me to love and not condemn, to restore and not judge, to forgive and not look back, to accept and not reject. Teach my beloved brothers and sisters in Christ not to make my same mistakes. That they might learn to love ALL around them like You accepted those that others rejected.  
I love You Lord.

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