All things worked together on that night: I had been taking my medication every two days rather than three on my quest to wean myself off of them for the reason that I needed to be able to drive that week. For that reason, my mind was clear. I could think. My nausea, dizziness, and even the shocks were manageable.
It was a night to go out, and I wanted to be there. And that nights study – on Genesis 2:18-25 was on a subject that I have been thinking about for quite a while. Relationships. Being naked and ashamed. How to respond to the cultural defense of homosexuality.
And I had my thoughts, and felt compelled to share them… and as unusual as the drive to share, was the silence that came and allowed me to do just that.
A world in which I feel constantly compelled to have a strong opinion, and take over one side of the argument. And being a Christian, that opinion seems to be a given…
But to believe the Bible doesn’t mean I have to stand against other people. It doesn’t mean I have to hate people who chose to live different from me, or that I cannot show them the kindness I crave.
While I believe in right and wrong, it tears me apart to see people take one thing – one decision, one lifestyle, one sin – and make it worse than all the others. Who are we to stand in judgment, and say, “thankfully all of my sins are forgiven – but yours? Impossible.”
“For all have sinned…” What makes one person worse than another? How can we accept people who struggle with lying, lust, covetousness, idols… but say “this… this crosses the line”?
I am not saying what I believe is wrong – but when I think of my sins, my failures… and yet I was chosen, and accepted… it breaks my heart to think that others may be kept from grace by a line drawn in the sand saying, “what you did was worse.”
Sin is sin, and it is all bad.
And I think of the time when the woman was caught in adultery, and brought before Jesus. She knew what she did was wrong. She knew it was, according to the law, deserving of stoning. Everyone knew it. It wasn’t a question of whether she was right – and Jesus didn’t tell her that what she did was okay, but he also didn’t condemn her.
He treated her with kindness and love, that was unexpected. And it was that grace that turned her to him.
And whenever I read, or think of her, it is me I see standing there.
Paul said, “Jesus came to save sinners, of whom I am the worst.”
That is me. So how can I stand in judgment over another – when in my heart, it breaks my heart to think of anyone standing apart from grace. How can we make one sin worse than the others? Yet we do. All these rules, and how many people are lost due to the rules – when all of us have failed? And if it is true that a person’s character, lifestyle, choices will exclude them from this gift, how can any of us be saved?
So you see, I had to speak. I don’t always talk, and this was an especially large contribution from me… and then I went home, and tossed and turned for hours wondering if I should have spoken at all.
When I was young, I had strong opinions – but they never came out, because I couldn’t speak. And in nights like yesterday – where I wonder if what I say is completely wrong, and wish I hadn’t felt compelled to talk – I question whether it was truly an improvement at all that I have worked so hard to connect my thoughts to my mouth so I would be able to speak.
And this fear is likely to carry me though for a time, and keep me from speaking – and I will battle myself nights on end trying to decide whether it was better to speak, or remain silent.
How do I choose?