Friday, May 9, 2008

This and Not That

There are times when I run smack dab into something that I can't stand to be in. Times when I have to grit my teeth and bite my tongue and hold my breath. Or at least take a deep breath and try to clear through the mud of my thoughts because I can't really believe what's happening.

Today I ran smack dab into someone and proceeded through an awkward conversation. I have a tendency toward awkwardness when it comes to certain subjects. These are the only kinds of conversations that make me truly uncomfortable. For the most part I'm pretty at ease with talking with people. I love to do it. I can disagree with someone on something and still enjoy their company and respect them as people while muddling through our differences. But there is one thing that will shut me up. Or make me stammer through, unable to find my words. It is in these moments that it's probably pretty important for me to know how to respond, but I'm not quite sure yet that I do. So I shut up. Or off. It's possible that I still can't say much because I get pretty angry and hurt and it's probably better if my mouth stays closed.

The core of what angers me is judgment. But there's so much to that. It blows my mind when a fellow Christian assumes I'm on the same page as they are on issues. Then they feel they have the freedom to say whatever hurtful or criticizing thing that they think or feel and I'm expected to vehemently agree. Or at least nod or tsk to show my support and disgust. And I don't. Then it gets awkward.

It's tricky because it's not that I don't love the person I'm talking to, it's just that I don't love how they look at other people in those moments. Most of the time the person or persons they are judging is someone whose lifestyle doesn't align with conservative Christian values. Maybe I shut down because I've been in a pretty "unclean" place in my life and know fully that I was loved by God the entire time. Maybe I want to extend that same grace to anyone who is doing anything. Maybe it just hits too close to home and I want to scream, "Do you realize you're talking about ME?" Maybe it's because I still carry so many imperfections of my own, I in no way have a right to point a finger. Or maybe it's just that I don't get it....

keeping the focus on everyone else's failures or choices and off of yourself seems so obviously avoidant.

I also just don't understand how the way Jesus lived and the way He treated sinners is just totally disregarded? How did that happen? Is it just human nature? The same people who live by a very strict moral law for the sake of Christianity are unable to use the same restraint in the judgment arena. I just don't get it.

And now I'm judging the judgers. I guess I'm thinking out loud again because of the random run-in of the day and the conversation that ensued. It left me hurt and sad for the state of Christianity. The way it's about this and not that.


k & k said...

I think my tongue has a permenent indentation from biting it during encounters like you describe. Often times I feel like speaking up, but with people who can't respect a difference what's the point? But am I lacking integrity but staying silent. Lately my choice to walk away. I think it sends a non-verbal message that that converstaion is not the "place" I choose to be. I know words would be best, but sometimes I just need to not make waves...or do I? Good question.

Heidi said...

Thank you. That's exactly how I feel, just put much, much, much more nicely than I can put it.

Also, I wonder when everyone will realize that "shared values" means different things to different people.

Troy & Tara Livesay said...

We have learned that people in general -- really don't want to think about things - they would prefer to believe what they believe without being challenged. Our worldview has been turned on its side and we feel totally misunderstood by our family and friends - it can be lonely. BUT, the good news is that God loves us and He does not need us to be lining up with James Dobson and Rush Limbaugh in order to find us valuable. I also hate judgy Christians and I would love to scream at them "GET OFF OUR SIDE" -- because they bring the whole thing down. The hurt and damage that judging/bossy/stronly vocal opinionated Christans can cause is very real. :(

Troy & Tara Livesay said...

P.S. -
I think people are not okay with saying they don't know --- so they decide their opinion to avoid saying "I don't know" --- but I don't know is not a bad thing. Greg Boyd, Senior Pastor of Woodland Hills has some killer-good sermons on these topics if you ever want to search it out a bit more.

charrette said...

Thanks so much for sending this link. I have enormous issues with this very thing...presumptive values. And you stated it so well.

I also have a personal struggle with judging the judgers. So glad you pointed that out. I guess the goal is love them, but don't join them.

We have a good friend who's an actor. He and his wife were praying for work so they wouldn't lose their SAG benefits, and along comes a beer commercial. So he does the spot, it gets a national run, and all's well...except that some people from our church are giving him the hardest time for doing that commercial, stating that he's a bad example to their kids. Give the guy a break!

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