Do you know what I really love? Grace.
I love the fact that I serve a God that is so merciful and gracious that when I made the decision to follow Him he washed my transgression to be white as snow. (Isaiah 1:18)
For those of you who have never met me or don’t really know my story I thought I’d give you a quick run down: I grew up in a Christian family, went to church on Sundays and had a pretty messy homelife. When I was 12 years young I made the decision to leave church and find out what the world had to offer. That was the start of a very long road of drugs, alcohol, cigarettes and partying. Through a series of events, that I’ll probably write about one day but today is not that day, I met the Red Frogs crew at my local university at 18. I got invited to church that Sunday and the following week I gave my life to Christ. My life has been radically transformed since that moment and I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world.
You could say, as most Christian circles do, that I have had a “colourful” past. I’ve heard people say this about others, about themselves and I’ve even said it. From Pastors to congregation members, virgins to neo-virgins (Huh? If you don’t know what a neo-virgin is, click here to check out Carrie Lloyd’s blog about the topic) and everyone in between seems to use the line, “They/I have had a colourful past.”
I have since learned how much that statement actually bothers me. It bothers me for two reasons:
#1 We are equating the word ‘colourful’ with the word ‘sinful’.
‘Colourful’ is used when referring to someone who has had a less than conservative past but has since repented and is now walking with Jesus, someone like myself. Let me tell you, I don’t deny that I had colourful moments in my life but I also know how dark my life was when my past was my present. Can we just call a spade a spade and acknowledge that there is nothing colourful about a hangover or a morning filled with regret? Unless, of course, you take into account the terrible lighting inside nightclub bathrooms or the colour of your up-chuck from the numerous concoctions you had the night before.
#2 Those who haven’t lived in worldly culture are seen to have had a monochrome life.
How ab-so-lutely rude is that? I know of people whose pasts are filled with missions trips to help the less fortunate in 3rd world countries, who have travelled the world, lived a life full of adventure, full of colour all while I was busy vomitting my regrets away in a friend’s neighbour’s ferns. I can promise you that their lives were DEFINITELY a lot more colourful than mine was at that moment.
We serve a gracious God and if God doesn’t define us by the colour qualities of our pasts then neither should we (Romans 6:14). Now, I’m not promoting the notion of sweeping our pasts under the rug and never acknowledging them; they are what made us to be who we are today, the good, the bad and the ugly. What I am promoting, however, is that we take others’ feelings into account; I don’t want my best friend who has lived a life devoted to pleasing God since she was a little girl to feel like her past is not interesting, sinful or full of colour like mine is.
I’d like to think that EVERY life is a beautiful masterpiece of colour AND monochrome, different shades, shapes and designs; it’s just that I, and those with a past like mine, decided to try colour outside the lines. God lovingly erased my scribbles outside the lines and taught me what it looks like to make my piece of art well within the lines of biblical truths; if we are being honest, my life is SO much better and richer for it.
IT’S JUST THAT I, AND THOSE WITH A PAST LIKE MINE, DECIDED TO TRY COLOUR OUTSIDE THE LINES.
Grace is for every past, every present and every future; It doesn’t give us the license to sin but it gives us the comfort to know that when we do, God will always love us.