Growing up, I lived inside a bubble. No, not literally. Although that would be cool—well until you came to a big hill.
But I grew up in the church. My family went every time the doors were open. At school, I had friends who went to church, but, if I’m completely honest, I didn’t think they loved God as much as the people at my church. I didn’t think they were as Christian as me, or the people at my church.
When I went to college, I went to a Christian college. And while there, I discovered something that leveled the playing field for me. I found out how capable I was of sinning. And for the first time in my life, I realized I was a sinner. Not just someone who made mistakes or did the wrong thing every once in a while. But a sinner. So I began to see myself not as better than others. I wasn’t superior to people who went to a different church or even people who never went to church. I was a sinner—just like everyone else.
Then I began tearing down walls in my life. What I mean is that I had walls that separated my life and my faith. I began to see that maybe someone or something other than a Christian had something good and valid to say. And instead of letting it rattle my faith, I let it draw me closer.
I’ve always been an entertainment geek, and I began to notice how spirituality showed up in movies. I didn’t always agree with it, but it taught me something—it showed me how other people think.
And then I began noticing how other people lived. The things they cared about. The things they thought were important. And I realized that I wasn’t the only person who cared about people who were in need. In fact, some of them cared more than I did. And I thought how they demonstrated a compassion that was more like Christ than me.
I’m still learning. My neighbor, Robert, is one of the most generous, helpful people I know. He became a Christian last year, but those traits are just part of who he is, long before he ever surrendered his life to Christ.
I do believe that Jesus is the only way. I do believe that the Bible is true. But when Jesus says, “I am the way and the truth and the life” (John 14:6 NIV), I don’t believe that meant that you’ll only see that truth in the walls of the church. Sometimes He shows up in the most unlikely places.
Like in a nursing home.
Or in a neighbor.
Or in a good book, song or a movie.
Or in someone’s life.
And when we see it, when we learn something new about God, ourselves or even others, we collide with the truth. We see the world differently. We understand things differently.
And that truth should bring us back to God’s Word, which I believe is my gauge for truth. I can verify what is being said by what God says in the Bible. His Word becomes a lamp to my feet and a light for my path (Psalm 119:105 NIV).
And when we see truth outside of our bubble, it doesn’t make our faith any less. In fact, it can make it more. Because we see a God who is so much bigger than we think. A God who is not restricted by the walls we put around Him. And a God who is so passionate about us knowing Him that He will use many different ways to make that happen.
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