Billy Graham has said many times: “Walking into a church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than walking into a garage
makes you a car.”
I love, love, love this saying. It reminds me that we are made up of what we DO, and not so much because of where we ARE right this minute. It also reminds me that Christians are more than just beliefs, they are designated by their behavior toward every one of God's sons and daughters. It reminds me that my family is more than just my biological family or my church family. My family encompasses friends, neighbors and even those who are hard to love.
I suspect, that at various times in our lives, we are all a little hard to love. I also suspect that there are times when each one of us behave in a very unchristian-like way. We want to be a BMW, but instead, we are more like the common gremlin! No matter how cool the outside looks, inside we are what we are. And that person shows through, no matter how we disguise the outside. Who we become, is the result of our choices.
We all get to choose the person we become. We do it each day through hundreds and thousands of individual decisions that we make. We may not choose exactly what happens to us, but we choose how we react to it. We might not get to choose the path we are on, but we choose what we see and what we realize. We choose how we see the world that is around us. Every choice we make brings us farther away, or closer to, the person that we want to become.
So, maybe walking into the church doesn't make you Christian, but choosing to stay there, choosing to change, choosing to become, does. And for me, the most wonderful part of this is that, although we can't change the past, every one of us has the ability to rewrite our futures. We start today and use the Atonement for our good. We repent, we grow, we change, we become.
Isn't it wonderful, that we have a Father in Heaven, who loves us enough to provide a way for each of us to arrive home. Our paths might be different. Our pasts might be completely opposite, but none of us are forgotten on this journey. He cares for each of us individually. He gives us what we need to grow, and allows us to experience joy in our journey, no matter how rocky the path.