A few years ago I used to be an avid listener to Hank Hanaagraf, the Bible Answer Man. I don’t listen to him anymore, because he reminds me of an agoraphobic. But there’s one thing he said that I still think about now and then. He said people considering giving their lives to Jesus Christ should be “fully informed” first. I’m not saying I agree with him (or disagree either). But I can see why he’d say that.
Before I got saved, I knew close to nothing about Jesus. I knew He had some sort of relationship with God; I knew He was perfect. I also knew I was going to hell because I’d had an abortion. I woke one night from a vivid dream about my baby, and I saw my room engulfed in flames. I thought hell was a foregone conclusion; I didn’t know Jesus could save me.
When I did get saved about 7 years later, I was of course grateful to be rescued from hell. I was also under the impression that the abortion was the worst thing about me–and now that I was forgiven of my one and only big sin, I could move forward gleeful and happy and spreading the love of God throughout the land, la la la.
I think maybe people who aren’t Christians equate salvation with putting on rose-colored glasses. The world now looks to them like this bright and happy place; life is easy, and blessings rain from the sky or pop out of crevices in the ground. Your troubles disappear, and The Genie in the Sky God will give you whatever you pray for.
But I’ve been thinking lately. I’ve been considering the truth about The Truth, and it’s this: Salvation is more like taking the rose-colored glasses off than putting them on. Or better, pre-salvation is like having cataracts and believing, “The way I perceive myself and the world is exactly how it is.” Then salvation is like having surgery to remove them. But instead of taking away the cloudiness all at once, it’s being removed in microscopically thin layers. And the more you see of the world … the more you see of your own reflection in the mirror … the more horrified you are. You thought you were gorgeous; now you see your face is covered with warts. It always was.
Before I got saved, I didn’t think much about the world or my place in it. I thought I was a good person, a decent person, compared to other people. Outside of the abortion, I thought I might’ve made it into heaven. Today I own His forgiveness and Heaven has been promised to me. But I know now–and more and more every day–how thoroughly wrong I was about me. Instead of comparing myself to others, I see myself in comparison to God. The result is that I’m far less good than I thought.
Frankly, I am not good at all. I am not lovable. Would the people I love, love me if they really knew me? I don’t think they would. Yet I desperately want someone to know me and love me anyway. I want it, but I work hard to keep anyone from knowing me. Because they won’t love me if they do. It’s pretty stupid.
Jesus is the only one who knows me and still loves me. It just can’t be true, even though I know it is. But it makes sense if you think about it: Someone would have to be perfect to love another unconditionally. This is a precious fact. He’s the only place where real unconditional love exists. I keep forgetting though. It’s pretty stupid.