Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The Patriarchs: Week 1 Day 3

Today I had a very lengthy conversation with a friend at work about what it means to be a Christian. For the sake of this, I'll just call my friend Tammy. Tammy and I had similiar conversations years ago when I first went to work for the hospital. See, Tammy use to be involved with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Yes, Tammy is a Morman. We simply chose to disagree on the things we couldn't agree on and that decision did not affect our friendship. But today I noticed a slightly different side to Tammy, one I didn't quite expect.

It all started when Tammy came in to my office and for some reason, she told me that two people from a neighboring church came by to talk to her and her husband last night. Her two kids had attended Vactation Bible School at this church a few weeks ago. Tammy said she got upset when one of the people told her that "everyone is a sinner." I asked her why that made her mad. She said because she didn't believe that was true. I asked her why not and she told me, "Laura, if that were true then that would mean that Jessica was a sinner and she's in hell. I'm sorry, but my daughter is not in hell." Jessica was Tammy's first child and for the life of me, I can't remember off hand why the child died, but she died in infancy. I explained to Tammy that I didn't think her daughter was in hell, either, but I did believe that Jessica was a sinner. I told her why I thought that and explained to her that I was a sinner, she was a sinner, Alise was a sinner, etc. She said she understood that. (She could "buy off on that.") Then she told me she didn't understand that people could go out and do bad things, go to church on Sunday, ask for forgiveness and then go right back out two weeks later and do the same thing again. I explained to her the best way I could that being a Christian is about having a relationship with God; that I couldn't answer for the people she was referring to but if they were truly saved and had a relationship with God then they wouldn't be doing those things. She said her step-son got saved a few months ago and there was no change in him. Tammy never told me, "Yes, I am a Christian." I did ask her if she had been baptized and she said, "Yes, years ago." She told me she went to a Baptist School growing up. Tammy's mom died a year and a half ago. I explained to her that the only hope she would have of her seeing her mom again or Wayne seeing his dad again was found in our Salvation with Christ. She said she understood that. Tammy could quote scripture. She called "other" religion "organized religion." I asked her what she meant by that but I can't remember what she said.

I was so busy this afternoon that I didn't have time to allow all that transpired with our conversation really sink in until now. When I think back to that conversation I am totally blown away. I've had time to think back on all the events that have lead up to this conversation. It started years ago and ended abruptly. Then a few weeks ago, Tammy and I started talking about the DiVinci Code and whether or not we would go see ithe movie (Tammy has read the book). Then, about a month ago, she was telling me about her stepson moving out and she just casually mentioned that he was being baptized because he got "saved." For some reason, I feel like Tammy (maybe not knowingly) is drawn to me for this reason. And when I think of how unworthy I am. I mean, I'm not perfect. Most of the time, I'm at work with those people alot longer than I am with my own family and I'm not always "Ms. Goody Too-Shoes" as some would think. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I don't believe I have acted in any "Christian" way that would make Tammy want to talk to me about these things and that's probably a horrible thing to say and I admitted that to her today. I said, "Look, I know I don't always act like I should or things I say or do come out wrong, but I know what I believe and I know that all I have to do is ask for forgiveness." Who am I that God would allow our paths to cross like this? This whole episode has made me realize how prideful I have been, maybe? It has been a real eye opener for me personally.

I had to go to a meeting, so I ended my conversation with Tammy by inviting her to come to our church. I even told her that if she would let me know before hand which Sunday she wanted to come, I would stay for late service and go with her. Of course I put a plug in for our church and all the things they had for the kids. Do I think Tammy is a Christian? I honestly don't know. Maybe she "thinks" she's saved but she's really not? Maybe she was saved a long time ago and has just fallen out of fellowship with God? I don't know her heart, but God does and I can't help but wonder if Tammy really is saved since God has allowed our paths to cross. But I am not going to pressure her. I'll wait a few weeks. Let God have His way and see what happens. The situation is in His hands.

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