Friday, April 8, 2011

Aren't You...

I was reminded recently of a day when we were at a seminary cookout and a stranger came by looking for money to fix his flat tire. Obviously it didn't occur to this person that seminarians weren't exactly rolling in cash. The Husband and one of our friends offered to drive him to where he needed to go and to get him help but would not give him the cash. The man was offended that he wasn't being given what he asked for. "Aren't you a Christian?" he demanded. The guys assured the man that they would help him get his tire fixed, but that wasn't good enough, he wanted his terms met and not doing so somehow equated with being unChristian.

I have discovered that many people believe that living a life of faith means not speaking your mind, not reacting, or just accepting whatever they demand. Being a Christian is not about being perfect. Modeling God's love is not about agreeing to disagree with someone who denigrates your beliefs. We can coexist but disparaging or being disrespectful of one's faith can feel like being bullied. It doesn't need to be intentional to be hurtful or insulting.

Recently a friend was struggling with a frustrating situation. I suggested that she had two choices, "Stay and be the change or beat feet." She knew those were her choices without me saying it, it's not brain surgery. If you don't like what's on television you can change the channel. If you don't like the messages you're getting, you can choose not to expose yourself to them.

She had choices. I have choices. You have choices. We all have choices. Sometimes we have the energy to stay and be the change and sometimes it feels emotionally safer or physically easier to beat feet. The choices aren't always easy and they're not always popular.

I am fairly non-confrontational. I made a choice to walk away from a situation instead of engaging in conflict. I felt it was the most Christian way to respond. Instead, by walking away quietly I was accused of being unChristian. Walking away was unChristian. I validated all of the negativity the person felt and believed about my faith by walking away.

Did I make the wrong decision? I don't know. I shared the struggle with the Husband. His response, "Did you break any commandments?" "No." "Well, you did what you thought was best." "But what kind if witness am I?" The Husband replied, "The kind that isn't a doormat. Shake the dust from your sandals."

There are many ways to walk in faith and glorifying God may look different to different people. Judgement is not for me but for the Lord. I do not claim to know all of the answers for everyone. I just try to do my best each day to walk the walk. Sometimes I am more successful than others, but since I'm human and saved by grace through faith and not by works of the law, I know I can keep on keeping on.

Some days I'll get it and some days...I'll fail. If I fail you because you didn't see God mirrored in my life, I am sorry. I have feelings and faults just like everyone else. It doesn't change who I am and whose I am or who He is.


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