But the truth is for most of us, life is messy. And everyone has their story, even Christian “insiders”. And if you read the Bible carefully, you will quickly learn that most of the principal players had very messy lives. It started with Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel and the others, and only went downhill from there. Heros of the Bible, people like David and Moses struggled with sin and disobedience. One of Jesus closest friends, Peter, betrayed Him. Another friend, Judas, turned him over to the authorities, and ultimately committed suicide. The rest of his friends scattered and abandoned Him in His one time of need. And although there are plenty of Christians who grew up going to church every Sunday, there are plenty of others like me.
These folks have seen and done things that are rarely talked about in church. Name a sin and these Christians have either done it or witnessed it first-hand. And even the church-raised Christians have had their share of troubles. In fact, if we were all completely honest with one another, you would probably realize that their “sin quotient”, relatively speaking, is not vastly different from yours. God loves all of us, no matter what we have done.
Further, I believe that we “other side of the tracks” Christians are actually pretty special to God. We are an opportunity for Him to demonstrate his love, power and glory. We are the before and after photos in the spiritual rapid weight loss commercial of life. People know what we were like before God touched us. And they know what we are like now. And in a way, I feel sorry for folks who grew up going to church every Sunday. They get use to it. They might take God for granted. Folks like me, who found themselves at the spiritual bottom, thank God every day for what he has done in their lives. I’m not saying other Christians aren’t thankful. But as Jesus explained in the parable of the prodigal son, God really wants a radically changed heart. It’s because when people like us change so radically, there is no other reasonable explanation for it. God is the only reasonable explanation.
Jesus didn’t hang out with squeaky-clean people. He surrounded himself with the castoffs of Jewish society- the tax collectors, adulterers and sinners. But all of these people had one thing in common. They knew they were wrong and sorry for it. And they believed that only Jesus could make it right. Squeaky-clean Christianity is a myth. We’ve all sinned. And we’ve all done what we knew was wrong. You may be thinking that you’re not good enough for Christianity. But no one is. And that’s the point- God loves us anyway.
 John 3, 4.
 Luke 15.