Tuesday, March 05, 2013

An Extremely Long Winded Rant About Faith and My Inability to Learn Anything the Easy Way

I've been thinking about writing a post on this topic since Friday. It's been rolling around up in my head space for a good 5 days, so I have a lot to say (some of which might be offensive to some people). I promise, it's worth reading through to the end, but regardless, you've been warned.

It all started with my February 29th daily devotional... which I read on the 28th. Let me start by saying that I have never felt closer to God than I do since starting it in January. And it's not just because it's written as though God himself were speaking to the reader (which at first I thought might be cheesy), but it's because I truly feel like He is using these words to speak directly to me. The entire passage for that day really hit home with me, as they all do. It said;

"You are on the right path. Listen more to Me and less to your doubts. I am leading you along the way I design just for you. Therefore, it is a lonely way, humanly speaking. But I go before you, as well as alongside you, so you are never alone. Do not expect anyone to understand fully My ways with you, anymore than you can comprehend My dealings with others. I am revealing to you the path of Life, day by day and moment by moment. As I said to my desciple Peter, so I repeat to you: Follow Me.
(& for those interested Psalm 119:105 and John 21:22 followed it)

I of course assumed that my message from this reading was just to trust in God that he was leading me down the right path and that though it might be lonely sometimes, He is always there for me.

Skip to the next morning in one of my design classes. We were talking as a group, critiquing our progress on the book covers that we're designing. A friend in my class chose a book in which "everyone's God" had been replaced with some kind of a computer or machine. The book actually sounded fascinating and I was thinking about how I might want to read it. And then it happened (as I should have known it would), someone (my professor) said something along the lines of "it's about time," in reference to God being replaced.

Okay... first of all, you can not assume that everyone in the large group of people that you are talking to are all going to hold the same beliefs as you. Or that by spouting off your disbeliefs in someone else's beliefs you will somehow make your own more valid. You would think being an art major and being pretty much surrounded by extreme liberals all day long, I would be used to comments like that by now. But the longer I sat there thinking about it, the more irritated I got. No one said anything to him. I didn't say anything to him.

My class later that day was drawing II. A classmate randomly mentioned something about Good Friday and asked if we had it off or when it was or something and my professor asked why would we get off for that? Another student said, in a very dismissive and yet somehow still derogatory way "Those religious people." Now at this point I'm passed by irritation quota for the day and I've entered pure anger and frustration.

That evening I was re-reading my devotional and I came across a sentence in it that hadn't held much meaning the first time around. "Do not expect anyone to understand fully My ways with you, anymore than you can comprehend My dealings with others."

& just as every other devotional I realized how well that sentence, the one sentence that felt somehow out of place the first time I read it, actually fit perfectly into the problem I was having. I read it over and over again and I thought I got it. So I was over the cruel, unnecessary comments of the morning and I was moving on.

Now, skip a couple days forward to about an hour or so ago. I was on YouTube watching a video on one of my favorite channels and a "this or that" kind of question came up about the afterlife and Heaven versus being a ghost on earth for the rest of eternity, and to make a long story short, I commented about my beliefs on the topic (as did many, many other people, only a few of which were "religious" people) and to make a (very) long story short I was called a "scary Christian." Mind you I was in no way rude, or derogatory or pushy. I HATE belligerent comments on the internet and I usually don't comment at all on anything, but I felt the need in this case, because perhaps I hadn't quite moved on after Friday's frustrations and was quickly reminded why I should always ignore that need and avoid all conversations with people I don' know on the internet (and sometimes even with people I do).

Of course I was angry... again. I don't like being labeled as a "scary Christian" person just because I express any kind of Faith in God. You don't see me in internet chatrooms, or standing on a street corner, or the quad on campus, yelling about fire and brimstone. I'm not damning everyone to Hell that doesn't hold my same values and Faith. I won't even bring up my Faith, or your Faith, in every day conversation if I don't know where you stand. I don't need you to share my opinions or beliefs. With that being said, I expect you to have the same decency not to throw your opinions and your beliefs in mine. Many, many youtubers/art majors, do not share my opinion on this. & I started playing back the comments from my professors and classmates plus the youtuber comments and I got angry all over again.

Now I will be the first to admit that I do not approve of everything in the "Christian Religion." When asked about my Faith I will always reply that I'm Christian, but being "Christian" is not how I define myself. I define myself by my relationship with God. There are a lot of things askew with religion in general, I get that. But just because you believe in something greater than yourself does not make you a fanatic, or a freak, or a bible thumper. It means that you have admitted to yourself that you can't do this alone, and that you need your greater power.

But that doesn't even matter. Not to everyone. & that's something that I haven't been able to get through my thick skull in the last few days that this has been reaching it's boiling point.

"Do not expect anyone to understand fully My ways with you, anymore than you can comprehend My dealings with others."

I thought I got this the first re-read... but I didn't. Thinking about it more, I think it might finally be sinking in. I can't let myself get frustrated with anyone else's beliefs, or lack thereof, because I have no idea what they're going through, what they have gone through, or what they will go through. I have no right to judge. God doesn't love me less for thinking they're wrong, nor does he love them less because they don't believe in him. He just loves. And while I may not have the ability to love them like He does, I can at least allow their comments and beliefs that so harshly conflict with mine, pass, without reigning judgement on them. My judgement means nothing. It's that simple. Just like they have no clue what God is doing in my life, I have even less of a clue as to what He is doing in theirs. Maybe one day they'll see things like I do, and maybe I'll in some way be a vessel to help them to get to a point where they have their own relationship with God, but maybe I won't. Maybe they'll never get there. But it just doesn't matter. Because I can't judge them. I don't know their story, and I certainly don't know God's plan for them.

So if you're like me and you get angry when other people seem to act out against something you hold so close to your heart, remember that they are going through their own stuff and that even if you can't see it, God is working on them too and loves them just as much as He loves you.

2 comments:

  1. Very enlightening, and very true! Well said, we can all learn from your observations!

    Love You,
    Mom

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow. You never stop amazing me.
    I think God uses you to reach me.

    Luv

    ReplyDelete