Posted by: mikenicholsblog | May 11, 2020

if that includes stopping traffic, so be it!

Recently, you may have been one of the millions who heard Andrea Bocelli sing “Amazing Grace” in front of a beautiful cathedral in Italy.  As a Christ-follower, I have experienced His real Amazing Grace. Sadly, however, there are times when I view others with a bit of judgment that falls short of showing the grace He’s shown me. You may have caught yourself doing the same. My hope is that the next few paragraphs will serve as a reminder of God’s perspective … and His Amazing Grace!

Years ago, I spent several days traveling with a friend and business associate. Our commonality in business, and especially faith, made the week more enjoyable for me. During one of the rare times that we weren’t together that week, I passed through an intersection that had people of need wanting help. One of those requesting help with her sign was a young pregnant woman. To my shame, I characterized her life with less than loving judgement and kept going. I guess I had forgotten I was raised in a home ravaged with alcohol and saw my father (though very loving) have his career and life cut very short. Having experienced Amazing Grace, how could I so quickly disregard her value?  My quick judgment was callous to her pain, and blind to her spiritual potential. When you look at those on the curb, or even those in your life, do you look with eyes of judgment or spiritual potential?

Twenty years ago, another great friend and former work associate was anything but a Christian.  It would have been easy to doubt that he would ever see the Light. But in a great way, God changed his life. I often tell him, “One thing you can’t deny is ‘the testimony of a changed life.’” He has been transformed from a worldly self-centered man to one who possesses a passionate faith and is a selfless giver. Was he ever too far gone?! Not for God! I knew him as a casual friend at that point but had no thoughts that one day his joyful faith would consistently challenge mine.

I would guess that every person reading this post has sung the beloved hymn “Amazing Grace” countless times. But if we had known its author early in his life, there is no doubt we would have doubted he would become a man of faith. We would have definitely passed judgement on rebel!  John Newton was a ruthless slave trader who captained his own ship. It was during a violent storm at sea that he had “a great deliverance.” His life was remarkably changed, and generations have benefited from that change. Note the first verse of Amazing Grace.

Amazing Grace! (how sweet the sound)
That sav’d a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now I am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

John Newton knew that amazing grace well, and quite literally was the “wretch like me” that God saved. Even though we don’t doubt God’s ability, would we have been calloused to Newton’s pain and blind to his spiritual potential? With judgmental eyes it would have been easy to look at a vile, ruthless slave trader and never envision what God could do. For me (and maybe you), it is too easy to pass by the hurting and forget that except for the grace of God, that could be us.  I am thankful that God stretched out His arms of grace and changed that wretch called Newton into a redeemed servant of God. God has used him to touch the world through his great hymn, and just think, you and I may have just passed him by!

Now, my purpose is not to challenge you to stop traffic when you see a pregnant woman holding a sign looking for help. But I would challenge you (and me) to be less callous to the hurting and blind to their spiritual potential. If that includes stopping traffic, so be it! Also, think about those in your life who need the Lord that you may have doubted could ever trust the Savior. The personal story of my friend and the historical tale of John Newton are evidence of God’s incredible life-changing love. He gave His best and Only as a sacrifice for all of us, and all our sins. The truth is, we are all wretches saved only by faith in Christ.

So today, if you know Him, give thanks that “you were blind, but now you see.” And don’t doubt that those that we devalue, and those you love (who don’t yet know the Savior) can have their eyes opened and lives changed too. Pray with faith for them, and never doubt. I trust and pray that one day you’ll smile when that person that once was lost, is now found.

PS: If you are wondering about your eternal destiny, and have questions, please contact us. We would love to help you!

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