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Paul Schmehl @PaulSchmehl
, 15 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
I feel inspired tonight, so I’m going to write a bonus thread. This is very personal. Years ago, we were involved in a Christian ministry. We decided to take a year out of our lives to do intensive study. There are many stories I could tell you from that year.
This one is very personal. At one point during the year, we were tasked with writing an essay describing what God had saved us from. This was very hard for me. I knew people involved in the ministry who had been saved as they were preparing to commit suicide.
Others were rescued from drug addiction or from other life problems that were life-threatening. I knew one guy who had the knife in his hand, reading to stab himself, when someone witnessed to him and turned his life around. Compared to them, I had nothing.
I was raised a Christian and accepted Christ as a child. My life had been void of any tragedy or heartrending problems. My parents loved each other, and it was obvious. I was active in the church, participating in many activities, attending Sunday school and studied the Bible.
As I struggled to describe what God had saved me from, I found myself getting more and more frustrated. I thought, God didn’t save me from anything. I never had a problem God needed to rescue me from. These other people are so lucky. They have a story to tell. I have nothing.
I couldn’t write anything. The page remained blank, just like my mind. But I knew I had to write something, so I just started pouring out my thoughts on the page. There was no big story to tell, no miraculous moment, nothing. But I kept writing. And writing. And writing.
Finally, when I was finished, I read what I had written. That’s when I realized, God had saved me from ME. I was so full of pride and arrogance that I didn’t believe God needed to save me. I was so good, there was nothing to save me from.
After all, I had been saved at a very young age. I’d been an Eagle Scout. I got good grades in school, and I was an obedient son. There was no sin in my life. I was perfect.
Try to imagine how stunned I was when I read that. The level of arrogance was astonishing. I wish I could say I changed that day, but if I’m honest, that day changed me. I realized that God had to do a LOT more work with me than with a simple drug addict. They were easy for God.
They KNEW they had a problem. I was blind. I actually thought I DIDN’T have a problem. I’ve been told by friends that I’m a very humble person. Whenever I hear that, I think back to that day and reading that paper. And I think, You have no idea. Then I thank them.
I always feel uncomfortable when people say that, because I realize it goes to the heart of what God saved me from. I am not humble. God is. I was, and am, arrogant and self-centered. So long as I stay close to God, you won’t see it.
But if you could get in my head, you’d see the battle that rages. And you would realize how remarkable it is that I can be loving and gracious and thoughtful. Because without God in my life, you wouldn’t like me at all. Shoot, I don’t like me. I like who God has made me.
One of the things I’ve learned from this is to never judge another person. Because you never know what battles they are fighting or how big the battle is. All I know is I thank God every day he saved me from that arrogance and selfishness (and continues to save me from it.)
I feel tremendous gratitude when people thank me for the threads I write, but there’s a part of me that wishes they wouldn’t thank me. Because the old Paul would be very proud of that. And he’d be taking credit for what God has wrought in my life. So now you know.
More than anything else, I pray that God blesses your life as much as he has mine. Because if he does that, you will spend every day thanking God for his deliverance. And that is a good thing.
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