Of course my church when I was growing up said “you’re free to be you” but…what you also heard was “we need you to cut your hair, wears a suit, quit smoking, quit listening to rock music, definitely stop the dancing, remove your tattoo … if you want to fit in and belong here”. It’s like the church that says, “everyone is welcome”… but when the prostitute came to a service she was made to feel like she didn’t belong … unless she was willing to wear different clothing, remove the make-up and wear flat shoes.
What I have learned as I have grown in my relationship with Christ is that there is no clean up we need to do before we come to God… it’s a come as you are deal! And if He sees fit to change someone… great, then allow Him to work in that person’s life to do that. Too many times we in the church think we are God and we know just what people need to do.
For me, I never fit into what I considered to be the pastor mold. It’s just not me… I like loud motorcycles, tattoos, dancing with my wife and an occasional cigar AND I love Jesus with all my heart… wow, is that possible? It is! This is one reason I really fought with God over becoming a pastor. I felt I didn’t fit the mold and He must be making a mistake to want me. But for whatever reason God persisted and I relented.
*I know most of you get what I am saying here, but you always have a few up-tight people who read into things so I am forced to clarify so as to make sure I am clear…when I say, “free to be me” I am not saying that God just wants to leave us in our sin and depravity and/or brokeness and be happy about it! Dah! Of course God wants us to be transformed into what He has created us to be… but that’s just it, GOD does the transforming work in people’s lives, HE works in a person’s heart better than we ever could. And frankly we, as mere humans, don’t know just what God is doing in people.
Honestly, I think we need more faith in the transforming work of the Holy Spirit in people’s lives!