When I look back honestly over the course of my life and reflect on the changes in my thinking, I’m sometimes overwhelmed by it, sometimes ashamed of where I’ve been, and cautious over what I think and say now as a result of understanding I still have so much more to learn. This process has truly given me caution and for that I’m grateful.
Noah made a comment yesterday about something he saw on television, quite a condemning comment. As he was leaving the room I gently said, “their sin is no greater than mine.” He turned to look at me with confusion. I added, “it’s true” and Erick spoke up and said, “yes, Noah, sin is sin.”
In all our effort to teach right from wrong, we must carefully address the natural inclination in us all to count ourselves a little better than another. This, too, is sin with as much harmful reverberation as any other.
These spiritual matters are rooted in the down and dirty world of the human experience. I realize every single day while raising my son that I battle the very same nature in myself that I’m trying to help him learn to discipline in himself. We are journeying together…
We aren’t drinkers. He knows that. We have a history of alcoholism on both sides of our families so we choose to simply abstain. He has questioned us about others who don’t make that same choice. I’ve been known to honestly say of a dear family member that occasionally does that she is a far better person than I am. I say it because it’s true and I hope it communicates something essential for Noah to learn. I stand by our choice, but I don’t feel superior as a result. I’m not.
Politics is another touchy subject. I’m quite conservative in ALL realms. Erick says he is conservative but I’m on an altogether different level of it than he is, yet some of my dearest friends in all the world are liberal. Not just friends, people who threw me a life raft at a time in my life I would not have survived without their intervention. I have not forgotten and I will not allow political differences to sever relationships. By the way, Jesus didn’t either.
I’m listening. I am listening to all who are offering information and I’m trying to listen through the aid of The Holy Spirit. Caring enough to hear and obey when you know it’s gonna cost you isn’t easy. This past year more than any other I’ve been tested on whether or not I’m seeking to please people and avoid criticism or to please God and grow in grace. Painful…oh how painful, but necessary.
I was thinking this morning how sobering it is when you grow up enough to realize no one is above gross error. No. One. That means we have to seek truth for ourselves. Listen to others? Sure, but not without filtering messages and meanings, and the spirit of both through the sound teaching of Jesus’ life. Jesus’ life…context matters. I hurt in my heart when I see scripture used to accuse and to cast a negative light on someone. That was never Jesus’ intent. Remember the cross? Remember how He forgave those who harmed Him. His love never wavered. He still wanted the best for those who did Him the worst. What an example. How poorly I/we follow. Help us, Lord, to remember that with loving-kindness you drew us and that is your will for us toward others…
Love wishes no harm on others. Love is not puffed up. It seeks not it’s own. It is patient and kind and bears no ill will.
I’m also lifted in encouragement when I know there’s more hurt to come but I don’t shrink back in fear. He’ll walk with me. He promised, and He is faithful. Now, that is something for which to give thanks. That’s fairly new in my faith journey. I thank Him for it.
Back to my liberal friends…I have a beloved friend who visits periodically. She has told me she is not a believer. We’ve had multiple conversations over a period of many years, each of us shedding tears as we worked together to remain united as friends while holding different beliefs. She has lovingly accepted my gifts of books by Christian authors that are dear to me in order to help her better understand my experience, and I’ve assured her my love is steadfast for her whether she embraces my beliefs as her own or not. We’ve gained much ground through honesty and loving patience going both ways.
Might I take her to church with me sometime if she agrees to go? Yes, when I can trust she will be offered the gospel of peace without being shrouded in any political context. Just Jesus. Why? Because that and that alone is what matters most. Without that, we have nothing of peace to offer. If she hears political speech from a pulpit, she will hear nothing else and the trip will be a waste and likely her last. That’s not something I’m willing to have on my conscience.
I will continue, as long as the Lord blesses us to have a home, to open it to those who seek our company, believers and unbelievers. I will offer smiles and hugs and as much gentleness as The Lord will grant me to give. Is this not what He calls us to do?