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Living Free of Condemnation...

Sounds good at least. I want to live that way and I do try. I am free of condemnation in Christ. I know this, but try telling my memory and feelings and other peoples memories of me.

Especially other peoples memories of me. My reputation still proceeds me. On my wedding day, over 18 years ago, a lady wished me well to the best of her ability, at least I know she meant well. She said something like this: "I want you to know how happy I am to see you marry such a good man."(meaning, he was a good man because of his good Mennonite upbringing). She continued," I had my doubts how you would end up; now I feel pretty good about the way you're headed." (I was headed to a more conservative Mennonite community.)

That stung. I felt that I probably deserved that kind of judgement considering the years I had spent in being rebellious and a little bit wild. Although I had made a new commitment to living for Christ at the age of eighteen, it took years of slow change and progress for people to see it.

The disturbing thing is, I still let those past memories and people that I knew in that time of my life, bring me those feelings of shame; I think I will never be cleared of the judgment poured over me during those formative years. When a person from those long ago years say they remember me, I want to know what they remember about me. Do they remember the music I listened to and the movies I watched and thought were good? Do they remember my foul mouth, my rebellious-nobody is gonna tell me what to do attitude-and my show offy, blunt ways.

And then, I remember. There is therefore now NO condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus; who walk not after the flesh. I admit, there's still a fair amount of flesh that gets in the way some days, but for the most part,  No, for the whole part, I am forgiven. I claim the blood of Jesus for my reputation. My reputation is no longer important when I think of taking on Christ and learning HIS ways. I am free from the condemnation of my memory and of the memory of other people. I know this, but do they? Do they associate what I do now with what I did then? Do they look at pictures of my family and say, "Oh, she was that wild child, I wonder if she has changed?"

And then I think of grace. When I meet someone who is having a grouchy day, can I extend grace and give a smile anyway? When my very own flesh and blood teenagers have some of that same rebellious nature that I had, can I remember those moments and give them grace and understanding, loving them through it like my own parents did me? And even grace to let them go through a little of real life on there own, letting them handle it without interfering and passing judgement; grace enough to imagine that they aren't as rebellious and tough as they sound, they are just growing and searching and trying to figure out this thing we call life.

So then, it really doesn't matter how people remember me when I was growing up. We all get to the place where we say, "But for the grace of God, there go I," There, is the freedom from condemning and of feeling condemned. And when you get to the point that you  want to be identified with Christ and His sufferings, you know you are free of condemnation.

Praise Jesus, Amen!