2 Corinthians 5:17-19 "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation."
Hi, there. We haven't met yet. At least not as who I am now. You might have known me in the past, when I lied, gossiped, became jealous, selfish, and hid under false pretenses. But you haven't met me now.
What's that you say? That you do know me - that we just talked on Sunday? Sure, I know you read my facebook page and we trade stories about our families, but you don't know me yet.
I know - I look the same. I'm growing my hair out, but it hasn't grown much in the past few days. And I'm working on getting healthier, but it's been a roller coaster ride so it's pretty unnoticeable. No, I've had this outfit for years, but thanks for asking.
What's that? Then why am I saying you don't know me now? Let me explain.
All those pieces that made me the last time you saw me, whether you knew it or not? They aren't here anymore. No, really. They aren't covered up or hiding - they are GONE. You haven't ever seen me without those old parts of me, so it's true. You don't know me. Whatever you expect from me, or assume I will say and do based on previous actions or mistakes or successes. That isn't me now. I don't really know about all of it. I do know though, that being forgiven means that I'm totally new. All of me is from God, "who reconciled the world [me] to Himself in Christ, not counting men's sins [mine] against them." I'm banking on this reconciliation - that I am not who I was, but am completely, totally His.
Sure - it takes 21 days and lots of willpower to create a habit. But this new me is a gift - not earned through what I can do or can't do. The new me has some responsibilities though, and I can't help but do all I can to follow through. "And he has committed us to the message of reconciliation." I plan to tell everyone I can about the new me. And I desperately hope you recognize that I am not who I was - that I'm a new person, and can't help but ask me about it.
I do know that I'm listening really hard to what the Spirit is telling me. I have a feeling that so much of the old me felt so natural that I may reach for the things the old me held dear without realizing it, so I'm sure reconciliation is an ongoing process. But I'm banking on God walking along with me the whole way.
What's that? How will it really affect me? I'm still the same person? Well, I don't really know the full picture. I do know, though, that I am committed to to the new me. Completely. I hope you will see the difference and trust it - if not today, then one day. I am not going anywhere - the new me can't wait to get to know you!
(Friends - this is the conversation I imagined I would have with myself (names and sins changed to protect the guilty) - I would love to hear your thoughts on today's reading, or how it made you feel to think of yourself as new.)