Generation Cedar

I get the spirit of the article, An Open Letter to the Christian Bad Girl (met with comments like, “Now that’s f****** awesome).  And I even understand the marketing drive behind writing the kind of content that people love to share.  And I’m sure the author is lovely. But because it’s being shared, I felt the need (compulsion, really) to address the glaring problem with the article.

If you don’t want to read all of it, here’s a snippet of the highlights:

“I see you. I know you. I am one of you. I’m also a Jesus-loving “bad girl.” I’ve done things many Christians would cringe at the thought of….

Maybe you’ve even been hesitant to get involved in a church, or really get to know people there. I know I have.

It’s interesting because the people I’ve met who truly know Jesus are usually very loving and accepting, yet there were times I was still reluctant to connect with them….

You wonder what they would say if they knew your past, especially the dark parts. You wonder how wide their eyes would be if they knew how much your mouth resembled that of a sailor, or how much wine you drink… on week nights. (My note: drinking wine is not a sin. Drunkenness is. Clarified.) Or how you think inappropriate jokes are hilarious. You try to imagine their response if you were vulnerable enough to share the thoughts that go through your mind. You wonder if they would question if you really love Jesus….

Here is the thing I’ve come to learn: Jesus loves us bad girls. He loves the heck out of us. And He doesn’t want us to hide either…

I think if Jesus were here right now he would give us a giant hug and say how happy He is to have us. He’d say we always have a place at the table with him, and that’s exactly where He wants us. No lecture, no shaming, just love. So, so much love.

So come as you are, rebel heart and all.”

The heart of this article is sincere: an invitation that no matter what you’ve done, Jesus will welcome you with open arms and so will people who have the spirit of Christ.

I can attest to the truth of that because I was a bad girl too. The story of redemption in my life is so amazing that I will always stand in awe of the incredible change Jesus can make in a person.

But that’s the sad part I find missing in this piece. And it’s the WHOLE part. We CAN come as we are to Jesus. But we can never stay as we are, and I didn’t get that vibe from the article. There’s a blurry line where you don’t see the saving grace that transforms. It’s more of a “I’m kinda still a bad girl but Jesus doesn’t care” attitude.

If we tell our bad girl stories and leave out the redemptive work of the cross, the transforming power of His grace and love, what a cruelty to both our Savior and those hearing! If coming to Jesus doesn’t profoundly change me, I haven’t met Him. It doesn’t mean we never sin again, it means we don’t want to, and we grieve over our sinfulness, and we repent, and we seek to do what is pleasing to Him. A grace that doesn’t effect change is cheap grace, if grace at all.

When Jesus met bad girls, He welcomed them. And He required change…“Go and sin no more.”

Being a bad girl Christian shouldn’t be painted as some kind of club where I feel better about my sin because I read an article like this. That appeals to my flesh, but it’s not biblical. We were all bad girls once. Some have more tangible garbage in their past than others, but we all hold the title. But coming to Jesus makes us good girls–because of the merit of His perfection, and nothing else.

And we answer that grace by living a life of gratitude that seeks obedience. A changed life.

“But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints.  Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.  For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.  Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.  Therefore do not become partners with them;  for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true),  and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.” Ephesians 5:3-10


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10 Responses

  1. Thank you, Kelly! Why would we find any joy in staying a “bad girl” when our Savior sacrificed ALL to make us good? Why would we find any delight in remaining stained when He washes us as white as snow? Why would we fall for the world’s lies about the “fun” of corruption when we can be whole and free? Being a bad girl is the easy road… but Jesus calls us to the narrow road that leads to life, and that means self-denial, steadfast faith, and being His friend by obeying His commands (John 15:14).

  2. YES! Thank You JESUS for taking this heart of stone and giving me a heart of flesh!!! For YOU and YOUR GLORY!!!

  3. This is an excellent response-thank you. I especially appreciated the way you showed in your response how we can share the whole truth of the gospel in a gentle and unharsh manner.

  4. Very well written. I had similar thoughts on the article and was alarmed by the friends that were sharing it. Your response to the article was filled with much truth and gentleness. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Thank you, Beth and Rebecca. I really appreciate your thoughts and I’m glad it came across in the gentleness that I intended.

  6. Love it, thank you Kelly! Being a false convert for many years, I am especially sensitive to this kind of thinking. I too was a bad girl, but that is no longer my identity. I am now clothed in the righteousness of Christ, my heart is continually being transformed by His Word. I don’t rest in my sin, but am grieved by it. Sadly, a false convert could read the article and be reassured that they are “okay”.

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