I did not grow up in church. There is a lot in that statement, and I won’t go into details, but as it is, I received Christ when I was 21 years old and now I am raising a whole houseful of church kids.
Church kids fascinate me, in a way. I cannot imagine growing up in a house where imperfect people do their best to exalt a perfect God. I cannot imagine a childhood where the Bible being read is not unusual. I cannot imagine what sort of person I would have turned out to be had my parents lived for God. I didn’t have to be convinced I was a sinner, it was obvious from my life, but what I didn’t understand is that there was already a remedy in place so that I could be reconciled to God. My kids know this, have always known it and have known it as surely as they know the sky is blue. It has been taught to them in a hundred different ways and hopefully lived in front of them from the day they were born.
I have often made the statement that in lot of ways, it’s simply easier to be a complete dirtbag until you’re an adult, and then get saved. I say this after years of watching church kids, including the ones in my house, and watching their struggles. I have the advantage of never really having any doubts about my salvation. I don’t have a history of 3 or 4 or 5 professions of faith; I have one. I’ve never had to scour my life to find massive changes that Jesus made as some sort of proof that I ‘got the goods’; those changes are obvious. I don’t have to be educated about the scars that sin causes; I bear those scars already. I can see trouble coming a long way off since trouble is where I grew up.
But church kids have an advantage over me, and I think it is a highly unappreciated advantage; no baggage. Despite the great victories wrought for me and in me by Jesus Christ, I have baggage. This baggage lingers on in my reactions to things, my thought life, and increasingly in my memories.
For example, this morning I have had to be exposed to some of the music that I left behind. I am amazed at the emotional memories conjured up by this music. There are pains and heartbreaks that marked that part of my life that feel as fresh as the day they happened when I’m around that music. There is a fresh flush of shame about how I coped with that part of life. There is remorse for the damage I caused. All of that has been washed away by the blood of Jesus, but it still lingers in the corners of my mind, ready to pop back on the scene and haunt. That’s baggage.
It is not God’s will for a man to almost destroy his life and then get rescued at the last minute. It’s God’s will that people live right, and accept his pardon for things done that were wrong. It’s not God’s will that he be our last resort, but in his grace and his mercy, he’ll take us even if we do come to him as a last resort.
And if you are a church kid and you want to tell me how hard it is to be raised in church, and how oppressed you feel, I will do my best to be polite and nod my head while you blabber on. I will just chalk your comments up to your stupidity and not hold them against you, and maybe someday, if you catch me in the right mood , we’ll compare baggage. Any takers?