Of all my insecurities, probably the one I feel the most reluctance to face is the question of salvation. In accordance with Christian faith, I became a Christian when I asked Jesus to forgive me of my sins (which were many, and are many) and to come and live in my heart. As a child, I remember the moment, and I remember the place, and I remember the tiny swelling in my heart as the Holy Spirit returned my welcome.
It was so magical, I still remember the experience and the wonder. Even at the age of six, I knew the mystic touch of God for what it was.
That is how I became “saved.” As I grew up, and did a lot of backsliding and falling short, and even self-righteous, because with my ego, it will always be a stumbling block on this side of heaven, I learned a lot about being a Christian and how to act like one and how to think like one, both on a faith level and on a cultural level (I do not agree with some of the cultural Christian issues, let me just say that. Please do not take me for your stereotypical Christian-parody; I deserve, on my own merit, just as you, to be judged on all my levels, not just my faith ones.)
I realized there is no exact Biblical equivalent of some of the Christian hierarchy and linguistics (Protestant is not a term in the Bible, for example.) When Jesus talks about being “saved,” I don’t know for sure if we have the same definition all the time. That’s why I love the Book of John.
In Chapter 3 of John, this is where Jesus is talking to Nicodemus. And Jesus tells him – just lines away from the famous John 3:16 quote – that “You must be born again.”
The key word for me here is “again.”
When I falter in my faith, and I wonder if I have been saved, or “born again,” I think of my own birth now.
Having children really does change you – some for the good, some for the bad, and sometimes you realize how terrible you were before. I have issues on all of these levels. But the reality of going through birth has helped me think of how weird it is.
I challenge people now to think of your own birth. Did it really happen? Sure, otherwise you wouldn’t be here (I assume.) Your mother did a lot of the work, and ideally, her body responded to yours when you decided to go head down – or she evicted you, which leaves us with a lot of options.
I think this is a beautiful and weird picture of how we are “born again.” Some people might not consider their lives subject to the reality of their birth if it weren’t for all the evidence to suggest it had happened.
Some people, using this as a metaphor, could say they popped out of a rosebush or walked out of the sea, or evolved from a monkey, rather than being born. But I suppose that is another argument, for another day.
When you are born, someone else provides the work behind it; you get to have some say in it, but overall, it’s largely up to the mother to get the job done. I think of Christ as a mother figure here, both allowing us to choose and sometimes choosing for us.
And when you consider everything – where you have been, what you have done, how you have reacted, and what you think about when you think of God – if you are “born again,” you will realize just how different a person you are than what you could have been.
This is where it’s great to get to know yourself, of course. If I had not accepted Jesus’ sacrifice for my sin, I would have definitely been a different person. While I periodically recognize my own remaining depravity, I definitely know I am not where I could be. With my pride, and my arrogance, and my selfishness, not to mention all my other little foibles I’ve collected and repelled along the way, I would be in a very different situation. I know this very certainly.
I revel in this revelation, because sometimes I do wonder if I am really saved; Christians who suffer from depression have a stigma attached to them, and “evangelicals,” which I am technically, at base level, in line with, have such a poor reputation, even among other Christians. But I know I was born, the first time, even if I don’t think about it everyday, and I love my mother deeply, even if I don’t always make her happy or proud.
And this is why I just love metaphors. Seeing Christ as my birth mother of sorts, and knowing how much I love my own mother, have really helped me to see thing in a new light and on a new level. I hope this has helped you some, too, whether it is to see Christianity in a new light or Jesus’ love.