Are You a Questionable Convert?
“When he came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple. But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus. So Saul stayed with them and moved about freely in Jerusalem, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord.” Acts 9:26-28
I was a questionable convert. Those who knew me well—who knew the depths of my wretched heart and the worst of my evil deeds—all had legitimate skepticism regarding my complete shift in character that occurred around the age of 19. Many of my friends and loved ones held their breath after my salvation, waiting to see if it would really last, to see if my “Jesus moment” was something true and binding.
I know I am not alone in this experience. If we were not ourselves a questionable convert, we all know one—someone of whom we have seen the worst, someone who has possibly caused us or those we love an incredible amount of hurt; someone whom, despite their recent baptism or testimony, we still aren’t really sure about. “Could this be real? Are they truly changed? Truly born again?”
And I, like all questionable converts, desperately needed a Barnabas, someone willing to take a chance—not on me, but on what the Lord had done in me…someone who was willing to see my fruit, take confidence in the Spirit, and fight for the work that Christ had begun. I, in God’s grace, was gifted this Barnabas: a small group leader who recognized the small flame that had begun in my heart and took it upon herself to fan it until it was something unstoppable.
The church needs more Barnabases like this small group leader of mine. It needs more of us willing to fight for the questionable converts, not because of our confidence in them or their willingness to change—but because of our confidence in God and His sovereign ability to change us.
Lord, give me a heart like Barnabas—one that is ready to fight for and defend Your chosen no matter their past, their history, or their skeletons. Give me grace, mercy, and discernment to recognize and shepherd the questionable converts in my life who simply need a fan for the flame you started.
Do you have a questionable convert in your life? In your church? What are practical ways you or your community could seek to better love and serve those who come to Christ while fleeing a particularly dark and haunting past?
Nicole Mason is a born and raised Texas girl with a passionate heart for all things Christ, truth, and coffee. She is newly married and graduated, currently thriving in what it means to abandon all plans in pursuit of God’s will. She received a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education, only to be called to seminary her senior year for a masters in ministry studies. She hopes to use her degree as well as her personal devotion to the Gospel to draw women out of self and into truth, so they may know the joys and pleasures that come from laying down our flesh and pursuing God’s glory whole-heartedly.