Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Rachel the Hypocrite

There was a time in my life where I said I was a Christian, but I wasn't living in a very Christ-like way. I was cynical and a cussbucket (even though I've never been very good at it). And my friends who were living good, Christian lives were called names. By me. Like the "Christian Coalition."

I wasn't very nice.

So years passed and then I actually went back to God. Back to church. Back to the life I should have been living. It was only then that I felt like a hypocrite. For the good life I was living, not the bad life I'd lived. My friends knew me as one person, but here I was, acting like some goody-goody who'd gotten her life together (but it wasn't an act). The word "hypocrite" may have even passed my friends' lips, so I got it into my head that this Christian life seemed hypocritical of me, given all I'd done in my past.

Yesterday, I read about Paul in the book of Acts (21-22, if you're interested). Paul gets up in front of an angry mob (who wants him arrested and killed) to explain who he is. He tells of the horrible things he used to do to Christians—all the persecution and imprisonment. He hunted down followers of Jesus.

He wasn't very nice.

Then, all of a sudden, Jesus appeared to him. He was a changed man. No longer a monster, Paul now encouraged others to follow Jesus. He did a complete turnaround.

But I've never pictured Paul as a hypocrite. Paul is an amazing story of redemption! How it's possible for even the most Christian-hating person in the world to see the light (literally, in Paul's case) and become a Christian. Paul's not a hypocrite; he's a man who's life was changed for the better, and then he had an incredible impact on the world.

Why can't I see myself that way? Why do I assume that Old Rachel is the "real" Rachel and that this new Rachel is surely a masquerade? That's not the case. When you change your life—really change it—the new you is the only you.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! - 2 Corinthians 5:17

It doesn't say, "The old is still around and the new part is just layered on top of it, you hypocrite." The old is gone. Completely. Adios. Elvis has left the building.

I'm new. The Old Rachel has gone, the New Rachel is here. And I welcome her with open arms.

Do you have a hard time letting go of your past?





P.S. - I typed the word "hypocrite" so much for this post that it no longer looks like a word to me. Random.

9 comments:

  1. Hey sister, I don't have a hard time letting go of my past . . . the devil has a persistent habit of reminding me. ;/ There is nothing like knowing that Christ is on the inside of you. It doesn't make you perfect, but His spirit is there to convict and correct and help you through the journey. I would never be where I am today without complete daily surrender. I love the stories God writes in our lives. He is truly the author and finisher of our faith!
    Blessings to you!
    Cherie

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  2. I have a harder time letting go of the mistakes I made after I came to Christ. I think that is because I assume that the people around me remember them. I realize that my standing in His kingdom comes from only who He is...not who I am or what I've done~but I constantly need reminders that it's not about me!

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  3. Hi Rachel, to answer your question, yes and no! Does that help? I think I have more of a hard time convincing myself I am a new creation because those old beliefs stick fast. I think the thing that works the best for me is to 'speak' the word out aloud, faith comes from hearing...
    Glad to see you self-blogging again
    God bless
    Tracy

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  4. I definitely have a tough time deciphering between the two at times. Namely when I have a bout of depression. *gasp!* Did I just admit that as a Christian, I still battle depression? Yep!

    Many people don't seem to understand that when we are transformed, that though we have been changed by the renewing of our minds (Rom 12:2)...this isn't a once in a lifetime gig. Salvation is worked out...a process. Our Christianity (walk with Christ...not our religion) is a constant battlefield and the enemy uses the most simple tactics tha work! Like shame...guilt...condemnation. Anything he can use to turn your focus inward and away from God...he uses it...and your past is easy territory to play with.

    Coming from a Pagan background, I identify easily with Paul's example. I was a "Saul"...and I loathed Christian's for years based on what some who were Christian's did to me when I was younger. Yet...here I am...years later and nearly 8 years into my walk with Christ, and my life is completely transformed.

    Many think how I act today is all uppity and goody-goody as well...but that is because those folks have yet to embrace the change God did in them when they accepted Him. By grace we are saved...and grace is a very difficult concept to truly embrace and understand. In this life, we will never fully understand how He can gracefully love us in the wretched sin we are born into...but He does. It takes wild faith to trust in that...and walk in it. And I am thankful you have and do.

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  5. Satan tries to get me everyday with that mess! (Sometimes he succeeds.) I'm thankful for a God who picked me up right where I was and said, "no more!" Great post! The new Rachel is here! :) Preach it, girl!

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  6. Rachel,
    This hits home. I used to have a really difficult time lettign go of my past. Then a pastor's wife said to me "So, you're calling God a liar." Huh? I was confused. She explained that if God had forgiven me, never to remember my sins again, who was I to not forgive myself. It I didn't, i was calling Him a liar.

    I was convicted and I repented. I still struggle with embracing my new self, but I have slowly started to love my new self so much more.

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  7. I don't have a hard time with my past until I run into someone from high school at the mall or in the grocery, and suddenly I think back to how I treated them {or didn't treat them at all in many cases}.

    Trying to use every opportunity, not to make up for what I did or did not do, but to have a fresh start, even if our encounter is only long enough for a smile. It's hard, though, to battle the thoughts that usually pop in my head, berating myself for who I was...

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  8. I liked this post a lot. You know, of course, that between the Pharisee and the tax collector, it was the latter (who didn't dare look up at heaven, but beat his breast) that went home justified.

    Something that helps me a lot is Genesis 6 where God saw that EVERY inclination of man's heart was ONLY evil ALL the time. It's no shock that I'm not good and that takes the pressure off.

    And yet God just sees the clean clothes of Christ that I'm wearing.

    Hugs

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  9. I think I seldom really consider how I'm different than I used to be - but when I'm hanging with an old friend I'll often regress to whatever stage I was in when we hung out!

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