ˌrēˈɡrō/ verb/ gerund or present participle: Regrowing "to grow or be grown anew or continued growth after an injury or after having died or withered"
Today I had a conversation with a friend from high school. We met my first day, and he was pretty clearly gothic (before there was emo) and while he was nice, he was and still is agnostic. I used to joke with him that I was friends with him so that if he ever decided to shoot up the school he wouldn’t kill me…:) Obviously that’s not true, but it gives you an idea of the more relaxed nature of our friendship. I constantly invited him to youth group, and to my surprise he came.. several times!
Then I graduated high school, went to college, graduated, moved home, then moved to VA.. and didn’t hear from him at all. A couple months ago he found me on Facebook and we’ve chatted a few times, he’s made clear several times that he is still not Christian, and he is is perfectly fine being agnostic.. But, he keeps asking me questions.
Today out of the blue he asked me “so, do you think I am going to hell?” I was completely stunned at his bluntness, but I can’t pretend half of what I believe doesn’t apply so “yes, sorry.” But, amazingly it lead into a great conversation and I was able to explain how Christians can be some of the MEANEST people you will ever meet, and sometimes even I as a Christian desire to run them over with my car… He said he could never be a Christian because he drinks, smokes, and swears sometimes… I just laughed and explained that it’s not my job to police his life.. I am called to show him love. Once I said that he instantly went into how I am the most loving person he has ever known, and I am the reason he doesn’t do drugs anymore…
I was shocked.
When I asked why, and pointed out I haven’t talked to him in a long time, or done anything special. He responded with the fact that when he was getting pretty heavy into drugs at one point he began to think about times in his life when he was happy. He said the only time he could think of when he felt cared about and loved was in high school when we would talk or hang out at church. He explained how I am the only person that makes him believe there is a chance Jesus is real, and he appreciates the fact that I’m completely honest, but not screaming at him to know Jesus. We continued to talk and I explained my view on what Jesus has called me to do.. and even though he is screaming in Jesus’ face that he isn’t His, I am still called to love him and help him when I can. I told him that I am thankful every day that I do not have the job of judging others and their sins.
We talked about gays, and the hatred many Christians express towards them (which makes my heart hurt), we talked about drinking, smoking, swearing, and why I feel my job is to love only. Then he asked if he believed in Jesus would he still go to hell for drinking and smoking and stuff… and much to his amazement I said no, it would mean he has sin in his life like I do. I explained that whether I kick puppies or feed hungry children in Africa neither means I get to Heaven or go to hell… and there is a certain amount of freedom in knowing that my “goodness” is not based on me at all but Jesus. It was a great conversation, and I am so thankful that my parents have always pushed getting to know people for who they are, and for hammering into me that people are what is important.
Can I just say how humbling and completely scary it is to have an agnostic say these things about me.
Oh my sweet Jesus you need to take this one, please speak to his heart. I want him to know you, to feel what I feel. To experience what it means to love you and accept your love. I don’t even know where to go with it, and I don’t want to say something stupid and mess it up. Please touch his heart.