Loving and Accepting the Sinner

By Kathy Babin

I was raised in Tyler and grew up in Pollard Methodist Church. My family members have been Texas Methodists for generations. When Wayne and I married, I did not feel that I had a home church to return to, I had been gone too long. As Wayne is apt to say, when we got married, we got in the car and went to church at First Presbyterian – where he was actively involved. That was 35 years ago.

At first I had trouble adjusting to the more formal worship style. Wayne’s very conservative background doesn’t allow for any conversation during worship service. Methodists are most definitely a looser lot. But I have truly grown to love the Calvinist tradition. I am a divorced woman and a sinner. I have missed the mark and fallen very short of God’s plan for me. I think that our confession in worship allows us to love each other freely and fully. We Presbyterians can open our arms to embrace others who are sinners, who also have erred from God’s plan for their lives. It creates the most amazing environment of love and acceptance.

In 35 years of membership, Wayne and I have had joys: the birth of 2 babies, the baptism of three children, graduations, children married, and grandchildren baptized. We have had sorrows: a baby with serious health problems, a child with life-threatening injuries, an arson attack on our business, the illness and death of a parent. The church through the love of individual members has sustained me, encouraged me, and celebrated with me and I think most importantly, forgiven me. I have felt the touch of Jesus Christ from the saints of this congregation. I can only pray that I return a small portion of the love and acceptance that I have received from you amazing folks sitting in these pews.

Throughout the Stewardship season, individuals are sharing their stories of gratitude. Check back often, and join the conversation in the comment section if you’d like!