Preface: The dissemination of the truth of God is not confined to ministers. The truth is to be scattered by all who claim to be disciples of Christ.
Growing up in Hawaii is hard when you’re Caucasian. It’s not an easy thing to be a minority. Imagine coming from West Virginia, where everyone is one race, to a world filled with nationalities from all over the Pacific. I reminded her every day where she was from, what she was, that she didn’t belong.
My freshman year in high school was when I first officially met Jessica. I must have made her cry at least once a week. I made jokes about her parents and how pale they were, and how she probably was going to end up marrying her cousin because she was from the South. I slapped her more than once for no particular reason. I just did it because I could, because she was white.
“Don’t try to act like you’re from here, Jessica. You don’t belong.”
“Are you hungry for some grits?”
“Do you have a cousin named Cletus?”
I don’t remember ever being so mean to someone. Still, every week she’d ask me the same question, make the same statements.
“Do you want to come to vespers, John? It’s going to be really fun! You should come to church with me sometime.”
I never could understand how she could turn the other cheek to me, but she did. Even after all my taunting, both physical and mental, she still wanted to share her God with me.
Jessica had something I didn’t have. She understood the forgiveness brought on by a relationship with God. If someone so much as looked at me the wrong way, I had something out for them, but the God I now serve was able to forgive even the man who drove the nails into His hands. He was able to forgive even Judas. A God so great was able to forgive even a man such as me.
As Christians, we often talk about emulating Christ by giving to the needy or helping the sick. In trying to emulate Christ, however, we often forget what His main goal on earth was. He came to forgive. If Christ’s purpose was to forgive the sins of the world and we want to be like Christ, shouldn’t our purpose be to forgive those around us, too? Every one of us, if we think about it hard enough and are truly honest with ourselves, will come to the conclusion that we are the last people who should’ve become Christians. We are the worst sinners. We are the most perverted, the most hateful, and the most prejudiced. Still, we can stand before the Savior with the assurance that we have been pardoned, forgiven, and cleansed by the perfect blood of He who forgives.
Jessica taught me that to be a true follower of God, you have to reach out to those who don’t deserve it. Me.