Today, I want to write from you from a perspective of what I like to call “Christian culture.” Most people like to believe that the “mean girls” are those on the outside, those who don’t call themselves Christians. However, the older I get, the biggest problem that I see is that it’s hard to tell the difference between the “mean girls” and the girls we see every single Sunday at church. Mean words and snarky gossip are covered up with, “Bless her heart.” “Did you hear what she did last Friday? We need to pray for her.” “She has really strayed away.” “I just can’t be around someone who is making those kind of life decisions.” In all reality, it’s all the same. It’s spreading the gossip, it’s anything but edifying to a fellow sister in Christ, and it breaks the very heart of our Father.
I want to tell you a personal story about what happened to me in college. I was 18, I had just rushed a sorority, I had broken up with a long-term boyfriend, and I was damaged. Rather than running to God, I ran away from him, and for a season, I forgot who I was. I attempted church, but I was not embraced. I continued down a very dark and broken path.
However, God placed two people into my life who rocked my world. Leigh Woodard was a girl in my English 101 class. We were very different. I was into the sorority, into dating fraternity guys who didn’t love the Lord, and school seemed to be the last thing on my mind, but for some reason, I was drawn to Leigh. I was drawn to her kindness, her goodness, her patience, her smile, and her genuine love. A few weeks later, I met Michelle Allen in a Brueggers Coffee Shop. Again, I was drawn to this kindness, this goodness, and this passionate love that I had only experienced within a few friends from my hometown and within the walls of my family, and of course, Leigh. It was all-consuming, and I wanted to spend more time with people who loved the way these two women loved me, who lived with zest and passion for what God desired, and who genuinely cared about every single person around them. Leigh and Michelle didn’t try to change me, they didn’t condemn me, and they never once made me feel uncomfortable. They simply loved me.
Ephesians 5:1 says, “Therefore, be imitators of God, as beloved children.” That’s the duty that God calls us to as women, as the church. It’s not our job to ridicule, it’s not our job to judge, and it’s not our job to decide when we have run out of love for another person. It’s our job to remember the love we have been shown by the Father, to remember the grace we have experienced, to remember the compassion we have been shown, and it’s our job to pour that out over anyone and everyone we see struggling. Throughout the Bible, we see that Jesus didn’t spend his time praising the Pharisees or exalting those who were doing good, but he spent his time coming alongside those who were struggling- the drunks, the prostitutes, the weak, the sick, the weary, and the broken- and his love healed them and gave them life. A year ago today, Leigh Woodard stood behind me as I married a man who loved the Lord passionately. She prayed over me before my wedding, and I can say with full confidence that Leigh will be praying over me for the rest of my life. Last week, I went and visited Michelle Allen who encourages me and loves me the very same way that she did the first day I met her in the Brueggers Coffee Shop. This is the heart of God, and it should be the heart of the church. My prayer is that the church and women of the Lord rise up to portray the heart of Christ, the one that loves, accepts, gives grace, and peace, rather than taking it upon themselves to judge, to ridicule, and to condemn. If even the church closes its heart to a sister in need, how can the WORLD ever see Christ?
Written by: Logan