I slouched in the middle seat of the fifteen-passenger van as it rumbled down the highway. If I sat up, I would hit my head on the ceiling. It had been an extremely long weekend, but I enjoyed road trips and was not about to complain.
I had spent the last five days with my speech club in South Dakota, competing in the last qualifying tournament before nationals. This speech season had been hard for me because of all the changes that had happened while I was away (I had taken a break from speech for about three years). The club that I was involved with consisted of mostly boys; middle school boys. Boys who liked to argue. Boys who refused to take showers on a daily basis. Let’s just say our car rides were less than quiet and the smell of our vehicle less than pleasant. One boy in particular had been a handful for everyone in the club.
This particular boy was extremely intelligent, but lacked common courtesy and often made fun of the other kids on such an intellectual level that the ones being bullied had no idea how to respond to his offensive conjuring. I would often find myself ending harsh conversations or making the boy cease in his teasing by offering him a more academic topic to consider and debate. I could tell that the boy was searching for his identity and that he felt extremely insignificant. Therefore, I tried my best to show him love no matter how rude he was toward me, and it finally payed off.
As we were on our way home in that stuffy van, my fellow students and I were engaged in light conversation. Suddenly, out of nowhere, the boy who had been such a bully blatantly asked me:
“Brooklyn, why are you so nice to everyone?”
The question hit me in the face like a sack of bricks. The fact that God had actually used me to get through to the boy threw me for a loop. However, it was not the first time I had been asked a question of this manner and it certainly would not be the last. In fact, I was just recently asked the question once more, which spurned me to write this post.
I AM NOT A GOOD PERSON. My ability to be “happy” or be “nice” is not of my nature. I am, by nature, a bad person. Wicked, evil, conceited. However, Christ has change my character. When people ask how I can be so loving, I simply explain that it is Christ loving through my actions. I could not be “good” or “nice” without God..
Those who know me best might imagine what I would be like if I did not have Christ. Frankly, as one of my friends puts it, “That would be scary!” I don’t even want to think of what type of person I would if God wasn’t the center of my life. However, I am forced to imagine what I would be because it makes me realize how much Christ has truly changed my heart. In the simplest terms I would be in jail, or a criminal, or dead. However, because Christ has changed my heart, molded me, and because He lives in me, I have a completely different story.
Why am I so nice to people? Because Christ was nice to me. Christ showed me compassion. Christ changed me. Even when I had abandoned Him for a lie, He took me back and called me His child.
Why do I love people? Because Christ showed love to me and loves through me.
Why am I so happy? I’m not. I’m at peace, not happy. I find joy in the fact that God wins in the end, no matter how bad things are at the time.
I am not perfect. I never was. I never will be. But I find joy, peace, and love in the fact that Christ has saved me from myself.
So, you want to be happy? Give-in to the love of Christ, and you will find so much more than mere happiness! You will find peace, joy, and freedom!