I think what really sold me on Jesus was the way that He believes in people.
I know this sounds awful, but it wasn't one of these "love at first sight" type of stories for me with Him. Some people, usually middle aged women, can describe their relationships with God as the most beautiful love story, and while i think that is really neat and all, when they do this, I usually half listen while the other half of me is trying not to roll my eyes and curse under my breath. I believe them when they say these things, don't get me wrong, but so far very little of my walk with Jesus has resembled "The Notebook", aside from the fact that I know Jesus loves me way more than he should and thinks I'm beautiful.
Somewhere along the way in my upbringing in a southern Church of Christ, I adopted this idea that the minute you're baptized, you and Jesus go walking hand in hand towards the sunset and live happily ever after. And for some people, maybe it is that way. If so, congratulations. But it wasn't for me. It took some time for me to really love and believe in Him. I know it sounds terrible, but I'm completely willing to admit that it's my own fault. If you want to know the truth, I can be a real punk sometimes, especially when it comes to things i'm "supposed" to do. For me, believing in God was just another one of those things. I wrestled against it ignorantly for a while, which I justified it by saying I was "trying to find my own faith". Really, I was questioning whether or not I could suck up my pride and do what I was expected to do. It wasn't as much an issue I had with God as it was an issue with myself.
But luckily, God knew I was kind of a punk, and He didn't just leave me there. He taught me a lesson through the circumstances in my own life, because that's usually the only way I learn. I started to see that I have been blessed with an overwhelmingly large amount of people in my life that believe in me. Most people get a few of these folks, I reckon, but I mean i've got like an entire team of them. I'm not bragging, either b/c trust me, this can get quite annoying at times. These people never let me settle, never let me quit, sometimes they won't let me sleep past noon. It can be kind of a pain for a college kid such as myself. But at the end of the day, its a blessing. It is an unbelievable blessing to be able to look over the course of my life and see so many people who have invested time into helping me become who God made me to be. I mean, I love these people. And I would do anything for them, because really, I wouldn't be who I am today if it weren't for them. And that's why they're my favorite people, honestly. These are the kind of folks I'm drawn to. And not just people that believe in me, I mean that would make me a pretty big narcissist, right? I'm talking about people that believe in people. People that see potential, no matter what the circumstances are, people that seek change and redemption in the lives of others. I love these people, and I love seeing them in action. It's inspirational, and not in a cheesy olympic music video kind of way. In the kind of way that wakes something up inside me, and makes me want to be that kind of person myself.
In my last post, I mentioned that I've recently come to love the TV show "Friday Night Lights". And I was thinking about this last night, trying to figure out what it is about this show that keeps me watching episode after episode until 3am. And I realized that what I love about this show is the fact that everybody gets a chance. No matter who they are, where they come from, what they've done, everybody gets a chance. Everybody finds someone who believes in them, who takes them in, who gives them a chance to be somebody different, somebody good. And they all usually end up giving someone else a chance too. I love that.
And I think its this same thing that really sold me on Jesus. He's got a lot of other really great qualities too, don't get me wrong. But i love the way He believed in people. The gospels are full of story after story of Jesus seeing potential in people, believing in them, helping them become who they were made to be, just like all the characters in Friday Night Lights, just like all the people in my life that have helped me. Jesus sees past circumstances, past barriers, past sin and shame, and gives everyone a chance. And not just that, but He truly believes in who they can become, even though he knows EVERYTHING about them. It doesn't matter. He knows the difference it can make and the impact people can have when they feel loved, and feel like they matter. And so He gave people that gift, of feeling loved, feeling valuable, feeling like they have a chance in this world. He not only gave it while He was still on earth, but He is still giving it now.
The creator of heaven and earth believes in you and I, in who we are, and in who we can become. Now if that doesn't make a difference in your life, I'm not sure what will.