I had a conversation a couple weeks back that has been heavy on my mind for a while. Let me set it up…
(Keep in mind this is loosely quoted)
I was walking to the church around 10:00 or so at night. One of my 8th or 9th grade students (use to be more active, kinda on the fringes now) rode by on a bike. I asked him what he was doing out this late & he stopped. We began casual chit-chat… how’s school, how’s the family, what you been up to, etc. I noticed his eyes & behavior & asked him if he was high… he was. We began talking about weed & how it’s really not a good choice (by “we” I mean “I”). Then he said something that caught me off guard: “man Mr. Thomas, we’re just from two different worlds.” I somewhat understand where he was heading, but I kinda pushed him.
“What do you mean? We live in the same town?”
“You know, we live two different lives.”
“You do all that God stuff & church stuff, I live a G-life.” (that’s ‘gansta life’ in case you missed it).
“Does that mean we have nothing in common & should stay away from each other?”
He paused for a moment and said, “yeah it do… you see, you do the God thing, and he don’t want you to have nothing to do with the G-life. I’m gonna do me… smoke weed & whatever else & I know God don’t want nothing to do with that either. So neither one of us got nothing the other want. The God thing is good for you, but not me. The G thing works for me, but not you.”
I have to admit. I should have had some pastoral comment to say to him filed away in my mind for a conversation like this… but I didn’t. We discussed it just a little bit more & he rode off while I went in to the office to get whatever I was after.
Here’s what that conversation sparked in my mind… Are we from 2 different worlds? To what extent should we associate?
I know all the Bible answers… as a believer, I am not of this world (John 15:18-19); I am not to conform to the patterns of the world (Romans 12:1-2); I am the light of Christ to a world of spiritual darkness (Matthew 5… I think).
Since sin is sin, no matter the severity, then his current “G-Life” is no different than my past Sin-Life. I have never smoked weed, but I sinned; therefore, his current depraved state is no different than mine was. The salvation that Christ gives washes his sin away just as much as mine. So, while we are currently from different worlds, we were both born to sin. While I may not be able to identify with everything he has going on in his life, I pray that I am never so far disconnected from the lost that I can’t identify with the hopelessness that is in a life without Christ. I hope that no matter how much weed he smokes, how many dumb choices he makes, how many times he blows me off… I hope I will ALWAYS SEE HIM THROUGH THE EYES OF CHRIST! I pray that my view of his life choices is the same as Christ’s view of mine. May my eyes, my heart, and my mouth be filled with compassion for the lost students around me… despite the decisions they make…
One thing he said had a lot of theological merit… God don’t want me to dabble in the G-Lifestyle. Let’s take it one step farther & say that God doesn’t want me to dabble in any form of sin, from weed to gluttony to being judgmental (I tend to get that way when people disagree with me, LoL). The question that God laid on my heart is this, “Is my life so separated from sin that I am living out my salvation?” I know I’m going to screw up, but am I avoiding sin, all of it, with the same fervency that I would avoid a pot-smoking situation? Are my actions portraying everything I believe about Christ? Do people look at me and see a church-goer or a Christ-follower?
Just a thought…