What do you do when everything you know and believe gets turned on its ear?
I am a black and white person who has lived long enough to know everything is NOT black and white. However, in my heart of hearts, I must confess that I do think some things are still black and white. Alot of things. Especially as Christians, the world is mostly black and white, right? The more I read, study, walk and talk with God and live I am discovering that no, it really isn't. This is very challenging to me. I have been taught so many things for so long, it is hard to read the Bible and not read those things I've heard all my life into it. BUT THEY AREN'T there. Here are the biggies I am dealing with:
1. Drinking was as common in Biblical times as breathing. Jesus turned water into wine(really good potent wine, BTW), so the guests could drink even more than they had already been drinking. Everything was celebrated with large amounts of wine. All feasts included large amounts of drinking. Jesus drank alot of wine. Perhaps you have been told that they could not drink the water, so wine was like their water. This is untrue. There are lots of water stories throughout the Bible as well. Drinking was simply not the big deal it is made into nowadays. I would even go out on a limb and say that nothing divides the Christians from the rest of the world so completely as the issue of alcoholic beverages. I am praying for God to show me the balance in this as this is SUCH a HUGE deal to me that I can't even go into detail about how strong my feelings are in this arena OR how bad it will rock my boat if I have been wrong and unfair in this area-both to myself and others.
2. I don't have to be perfect or even striving towards it for God to love me, save me, and even use me to bring about his message and will. God loves me, imperfections and all. Some of my biggest flaws? He created me with them. I think he knew if I wasn't this strong willed, opinionated bag of wind, I would not have made it through the things I have made it through. I have spent 35 years trying to be more palatable to as many people as possible. I have lamented who I am, what my personality is and dreamed of the day I would be calm, quiet and serene in the spirit of God. I have also figured with enough "good" parenting, my kids would change into these different perfect little angels as well. I just figured I was a very "bad" parent and that is why they are not.
There are more things, but right now these two are all I can handle right now. Number one shames me for all the haughty pride and judgement I have felt, spoke about and convicted others with.
Number two, well loving your neighbor as yourself isn't very hard when you have been hating yourself for as long as you can remember. However, loving myself as a child of God and others as my brothers and sisters no matter our station in life, mistakes, addictions, personality, looks, smell, etc. is a much taller order. I don't want to love everyone. I don't even want to love alot of people. In fact, I really truly LIKE very few people. I want them to like me, but that does not mean I like them. My heart is being re-tooled and it is a very tough transition. I thought God would really CHANGE ME-my personality, my habits. The whole "refiner's fire" thing. I did not realize he would accomplish this through changing my thoughts and attitudes toward others. I have been selfish selfish selfish. "Make me a better person, Lord." has been my prayer forever. The prayer I thought I was supposed to pray. Focus all on me. MEMEMEMEME. Me be more Christlike. Help me do better. I did not realize that is NOT where my focus belongs. God has a plan for me. If I focus on him and his will, me becoming a better person will be a by-product. This life is NOT about me finally becoming a good person, it is about God. Helping Him accomplish His will through me is my job, not being "good".
For most of you, this is nothing new. Perhaps you have known all of this all along. I would love to hear about you and your journey.