Been talkin' to myself lately...
The Lord and I have been in constant communication over the past 48 hours. Mainly because my husband is away and that allows me much more “think tank” time. I guess that’s why his opportunities to get back to nature with several of his friends, a.k.a. hunting, never bothers me. My dad did it. His dad did it. Our sons do it. And, besides, we aren’t vegetarian so I really don’t get the argument of “shooting Bambi” unless you are vegetarian. Chickens' lives matter, too.
My recent conversations with God have gone something like this, “Lord, I don’t like them. I need to confess to You that I don’t like them and I need to acknowledge to You that I realize You do like them.”
I have a few groups of “them,” which reflects Christian brothers and sisters that I vehemently disagree with and I simply cannot pretend that I condone their behavior or decisions any longer. The nice girl left the building.
I’ve done all that I can do: I’ve separated myself from them with a cold hard line in the sand. Someone once told me that when you draw a line in the sand, you typically end up standing alone. I am not alone. I chose to surround myself with people that may not be “like-thinkers” but they are not disrespecters of persons.
Some of these people have been left behind physically; others of them have been removed in the social media world. Someone asked me, “Don’t you think it is non-Christian to pull away from people that think differently than you? Isn’t that what you preach against?” That question lingers in my mind. As I’ve spent time in prayer and reflecting on God’s word, here is what I’ve discovered:
Slight disagreements are expected and can actually help us grow. Just like an unruly child, there are times that relationships need to be put in the time-out chair. To force a relationship or attempt to try and pretend that nothing is wrong really isn’t healing; it’s a Bandaid. We must learn to voice feelings and voice opinions without attacking someone who feels or thinks differently. However, when someone constantly attacks you or disregards your feelings, it is often best to go to the time-out chair. Physical separation can actually allow healing and resolution on both sides. I’ve discovered that being away from a certain group of people actually made me remember the good times and restored my respect for them. When I run into them from time to time, they actually treat me better too!
It’s hard to grow spiritually around people who love church but have no desire to be anything but a faithful church member. Jesus was and is real. He allowed us the opportunity to see His true self. I find it difficult to be with those who mask themselves and are not willing to look at the real Jesus because they are so busy holding on to old religion. Here is where my conversations with God grew really tense: Do I have to be around them? Do I have to forgive them? Do I have to like them? Do I have to pretend I like them? Should I “flee temptation” by removing myself from certain anger-producing situations? Stay tuned….we’re still talking.
As I prayed during our worship time in church this morning, I continued to pray quick one sentence prayers asking God to reveal His will to me. I believe I had an epiphany and want to share it with you. Here is what I heard God saying in response to my onslaught of prayers regarding this issue, “If I tell you to say it; say it. If I tell you to write it; write it. If I tell you to go; go. If I tell you to stay; stay.” In other words, 48 hours of intensity was rolled up into one well-established biblical thought I learned as a small child – always follow God’s lead. If we are walking close enough to Him, the doubts will disappear.
“Then Jesus said to his disciples, Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” Matthew 16:24