Craig and I finally went on a date tonight, it had been 7 months since the last time out with no kid. We went to Silver City, which in hindsight wasn't the best choice as it's SO loud. We could hardly have a conversation. So, next time we'll go somewhere quieter. Then we went and saw the movie Killers. It was cute and suprisingly had a lot of action. Pretty predictable, but we liked it.
I feel frustrated and kind of torn about something. As a Christian I believe there are a lot of gray areas that we live in, where we should allow God to speak to us about what is best for us and our situation. Of course there are black and whites and plenty of those, too, but I think there is a lot of gray. We all come from different childhoods, different life experiences, different viewpoints, and because of these differences- what is right for one person may not be right for another and vice versa.
For instance (and as a truly random example), when I'm not pregnant or breastfeeding I don't have any issue with having a glass of wine or a raspberry framboise beer (it's SO delicious). I have no issues with drinking too much and never have. But, that being said, it may be something that another person should absolutely stay away from and not go near. I have many friends and family members for which that is their conviction and I whole heartedly support it. That doesn't mean I should try to convince them that one beer is fine or that they should convince me that drinking is taboo. This is a gray area in which we are allowd to have different convictions and should respect each other. It doesn't make me a bad Christian for having a drink any more than it makes someone else a bad Christian for not drinking at all.
I just feel sometimes like people use Christianity as a reason to push their convictions on other people in a way that states them as 'fact'. That saddens me because honestly, these legalistic rules are what non-believers HATE about Christians. Where does the legalism leave room for God to speak to someone's heart about something? I do feel that on the black and white issues (ie; infidelity, murder/abortions, abuse, drug use, etc) as brothers and sisters in Christ it is absolutely Biblical to approach someone with truth and love. At the same time I feel that in the gray areas (what movies we watch, what foods we eat, what cars we drive, where we live, what music we listen to, etc) it is possible to overstep boundaries and put your mouth into a place where God deserves and desires the right to speak, and for all you know, He may already have.
I am tough, I can take it. But when I am called out as 'less than a Christian' or a 'deceived supposedly strong Christian woman' it kind of ticks me off. Other people watch what we do, what we say, and most of all how we live our lives. They see when we judge someone SO harshly for a gray area and so in that regard it ticks me off to see another Christian call me or someone else out on a gray area because you know what? Non-believers see this behavior and it's just another reason why they don't want to be a part of our community. What I hope for my non-believing friends is for them to see joy, love, respect, and compassion; from me to them and also amongst me and my Christian friends. It seems a great disservice for a believer to jump on another believer and then to do it in front of non-believers on top of it! Ugh. I have many friends and in the past, many co-workers, who don't have a personal relationship with Jesus. I know many of them have been hurt by a church or people that call themselves Christians. So it frustrates me and makes me sad to think that we as Christians might stand in the way of someone seeing God's great love and compassion and see Christianity as a book of rules and 'license for legalism' among communities of believers. This isn't God's design.
I think there is also a compass for how well we know someone and if they've given us the freedom and right to speak into their life. I don't have this relationship with every Christian or friend and not everyone has this right with me. It is earned. I don't know, this blog may not make sense since I'm not exactly putting a context to it, but I'm trying to hold my tongue because it's honestly the general situation that is bothering me and not necessarily the specific situation that happened recently.
My general thought is that we (me included) need to remember that just because we feel a very strong conviction about something, it doesn't mean it's not a gray area for someone else. Not every issue is a heaven or hell issue. In these cases let's hold our tongues and if we really feel so strongly about something...pray about it!
Romans 14:1-13 ESV
As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand. One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. ...
Romans 14:5-8 (Today's New International Version)
5 Some consider one day more sacred than another; others consider every day alike. Everyone should be fully convinced in their own mind. 6 Those who regard one day as special do so to the Lord. Those who eat meat do so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and those who abstain do so to the Lord and give thanks to God. 7 For we do not live to ourselves alone and we do not die to ourselves alone. 8 If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.
John 13:35 puts it well, "Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples." Enough said.