So, there’s this funny thing that happens from time to time when you’re someone who puts their opinion out into “the public.” It’s this thing where every person you encounter doesn’t agree with you and the stuff you say.
A couple of days ago, I posted a blog about how we should start getting mad about life or death issues like starvation, and medical care for impoverished people, instead of things like yoga pants and Fifty Shades of Grey. To me these things seemed more important. However, a few hours after I posted my blog to my Facebook page, I read the following:
“Sometimes I get knocked off course by other people’s expectations of me—you should do this! You should care about that! One way to miss your calling, little by little, is to run around doing all the things that other people think you should be doing. God’s purpose for me is pretty narrow, pretty simple. I can’t be all the things that people want me to be. But I can live the calling God has for me, even if it means disappointing people who think I should be doing more.”
So, while I still don’t think we need to yell at each other about our different views, I can now understand why we each need to have our “thing.” And why my thing may not be more important than yours.
For example, my awesome friend Heather works at a pregnancy services center. The center is a safe place for girls who are making decisions about abortion, adoption, or keeping their babies. Not every girl who walks through that door knows whether she’ll keep her baby or not. Heather helps them with resources, and prays that each one chooses life. She also runs a bible study group for unwed moms through her church, so that the mommies have a safe, judgement-free zone in which to learn about Jesus.
If I ask Heather to step away from that in order to further what I think is important, how can she follow God’s call for her?
I have another sweet acquaintance whose entire family packed up house—kids and all— and moved to Cambodia in order actively fight human trafficking.
How can I ask her to fight my fight, when God has called her family for another purpose?
As Christians, (as people, really), God gives us gifts that we’re supposed to use for His glory. Some of us are teachers, or preachers. Some of us are compassionate. Some of us just know how to get the job done. God created us this way so we can reach all people. If all of us are fighting the exact same battle, this means another one goes unchallenged.
Just because God’s purpose in my life is important to me, doesn’t mean His calling for others is any less crucial to reaching His people.
I don’t want to tell anyone what they should think or feel. God will put things on our hearts that aren’t for others, or even us, to question.
Can we just agree on two things, though?
Can we speak to one another in love? Instead of calling out the yoga pants-wearers of the world, or bad mouthing our contemporaries for seeing a movie that goes against our beliefs, can we lovingly explain our feelings to them? My fear is that, in all of our passion, we don’t realize we. are. yelling.
“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.” -1 Corinthians 13:1
If we speak without love, we become an annoying, offensive noise. However, if we speak to our friends with care and genuine concern, we show them a glimpse of Jesus.
The second thing I’d like to agree on is for Christians to stop confronting each other so aggressively. We are supposed to be known by our love for one another. How can we show Jesus to people who don’t know Him, when we’re screaming at each other? There’s a nice way to disagree. My first graders can do it.
“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you LOVE ONE ANOTHER.” -John 13:35
(My Bible doesn’t use all caps here, but I think Jesus would be okay with it.)
Several readers have disagreed with my previous blog, and have emailed or Facebook messaged me privately. You know what was great about every single one of those responses? They were all done in love. Writers lovingly explained their feelings, and gave me things to think about. Their words were so appreciated and weren’t lost on me. I wish all things could be settled so nicely.
One topic remained unanimous in all comments, both negative and positive. You may not take our yoga pants.