Georgia: Loving not-so-pretty sinners

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I’m just a small-town, Baptist-bred Texas girl. I lived a pretty normal—fairly sheltered—life. If there were any shootings, robberies, murders, drug or sex scandals, teenage pregnancies or rape in my town, I didn’t know about them.

mackenzie mclain130Mackenzie McLainAs I grew up, I knew that such things happened, but not in my world. My friends and I generally came from good homes and were good kids who didn’t do drugs or sleep around. We played sports and made decent grades.

College opened my eyes to a lot of things. I heard about wild parties, sleeping around, drugs … pick your poison. When I got plugged into Baptist Student Ministry, my relationship with the Lord started growing in a big way. Never had I taken the command to “go and make disciples of all nations” more seriously.

Never had I seen the people I walked next to day after day, sat next to in class, as being as truly lost as they were. Never had I seen sin for what it really is. Never had I thought about what my sin truly cost—the price Jesus paid, the pain he endured. All for me. And you. And them.

The only problem was, and is, that I’ve still been looking at people who look an awfully lot like me—not perfect, but seemingly not all that bad.

Living Vine Maternity Home

I’ve been at the Living Vine Maternity Home in Georgia a little more than a month now. My eyes have never been so opened. College has nothing on this place. I have a front-row seat to the lives of girls who have experienced things I used to think only happened in movies.

Their lives have consisted of gangs, lies, murder, abuse, drugs and rape. And now they are here, most of the time as teenagers, and pregnant. I have a front-row seat to how sin and Satan have truly wrecked their lives. And quite frankly, I never would have thought about reaching out to them until the Lord brought me here.

Why? Because they don’t look like me.

Their sins are way different than mine. Their lives are way different than mine. How can I possibly connect with them or befriend them? Honestly, they scare me a little bit. God called someone else to reach out to them—but surely not me.

Sin is sin

But I’ve grown to realize something important: Sin is sin. So, I might not be doing cocaine, living on the streets and selling my body. But I’m still not walking in the Spirit, so I might as well be.

Sin is sin, and God doesn’t put rankings on it. Why should we? Flesh is flesh. It isn’t pretty. But we’ve learned to dress it up and make it look pretty. We’ve become accustomed to reaching out to those whose flesh looks a lot like ours. After all, we know that flesh. We are comfortable with that flesh. But it isn’t pretty. It is sin. And no matter how much you dress it up, it is still quenching the Spirit.

Sin is sin – whether you are a Christian or not. It isn’t pretty either way. It isn’t pretty in any form—lying, murder, rape, gossip. When will we stop looking down on people whose sin might look a little bit different than ours? It is still sin. And when we choose to walk past, ignore, not love those who look different than us, we’re sinning.

I’ve met some girls that have lived lives that you wouldn’t even believe and done things you wouldn’t believe. Does that make them any less deserving of God’s love and grace—or our love?


The hurt might go a little deeper

It just means that the hurt might go a little deeper. The lies might be a little stronger. The scales on their eyes might be a little heavier. The attitudes might be a little nastier. The pain might be a little more painful. The sin might look a little different. But that doesn’t change a thing.

It means that it might be a little harder to love them. It doesn’t mean we aren’t supposed to love them.

After all, I am a not-so-pretty little sinner, saved by grace.

Mackenzie McLain, a student at West Texas A&M University, is serving with Go Now Missions in Savannah, Ga.

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