“Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.” – 1 Peter 2:17
Going forward on each of my posts I have decided to start with a verse. I plan to weave stories together from my life with the Word of God. I plan to write every Sunday in an effort to have some consistency with my writing. Wish me luck! Consistency is often hard for me. BUT I am willing to give it a shot.
If the Bible is not your thing – I get it. IT was not my thing for a long time. I often felt the biggest advocates for the Bible were some of the loudest judgmental people I had ever met.
Just know I cannot stand those people either – I do not think brow beating people with what they should and should not do has ever been the way to show people Jesus. Jesus has always been able to change hearts all on His own – He really does not need our help with that. He just needs us to LOVE people and share the Word. It is not more complicated than that.
I think our verse is rather fitting for the time period we find ourselves in. A time where respect seems to be replaced with being right and dishonor seems the only choice for communication.
I do not know about you but often I find myself scrolling through my Facebook or Instagram feed with a heavy heart. We love to sling mud. We love to throw around our opinions as if they are the ONLY opinions and die on our swords of rightness.
AND listen, I have been that person. I have been a mud thrower. Somehow screens make us feel like words do not matter and how vulgar we are has zero repercussions.
Truth be told – sometimes our emotions just get the better of us. We see something – it sets us off and without thinking we respond.
A few years ago, I found myself in this situation. I had been writing a different blog – one that has long been erased. This was the year that Bruce Jenner became Caitlin.
I found myself upset that so many people were applauding his efforts. It seemed strange to me that we thought a man leaving his family changing into a woman was something to be applauded. So, I wrote a nasty blog about how he was mentally ill. It was in extremely poor taste BUT instantly was applauded by many people I went to church with. So, trust me when I say I felt VERY validated and right in my position.
I need you to know that I am so embarrassed to even tell you this. How cruel of me to write something like that – I do not know this person nor do I have any right to weigh in on it. It was thoughtless and unkind. Period.
NOW listen, this is not a discussion about LGBTQ+. This is not my point at all. This story is just simply meant to say – I screwed up BIG time here. And frankly, I made an ass out of myself because I felt validated and brave behind a screen.
But the truth is I see now that the ONLY task I have is to love people.
And that means loving other people even if I do not necessarily agree with every decision they make. Disagreements do not give me the right to sling mud.
Yet, that also does not mean I have to change my values or beliefs in order to love them well.
Loving well does not mean I always agree, and it does not make me unloving to disagree.
Now I know that sounds kind of confusing because somehow our society has bought into the great lie that in order to love well, I must agree with everyone and everything. This could not be further from the truth.
We can still hold onto our values – see things from different points of view – yet, also love one another well ALL at the same time.
1 Peter gives us the recipe – respect, love, honor and fear God. These values must come first if we are to ever to get to that space.
We have to be willing to get to a place in this world where we can wholeheartedly disagree on matters BUT wholeheartedly agree to love one another.
We have to stop disassociating love from our discussions for the sake of being right. And we have to stop seeing disagreeing as being unloving. These things are not mutually exclusive.
The most wrong we will ever be in any given moment is the moment we decide that we cannot find common ground to love one another despite our vast differences.
We have to stop associating love with sameness – whether that be in opinions or personality.
We also need to be willing to understand one another. To listen. To hear the heart of another person. We will learn a great deal when we just simply listen instead of giving our opinion.
AND trust me when I say this is NOT easy for me. I have to work at this every single day. Somedays I get this right and others I fail miserably at it. But my failings do not give me a license to stop trying.
I think it is also important to remember our values may come from very different places.
My values come from the Bible. This is a HUGE part of my life. I believe in the very Word of God so much so that I am getting a bachelor’s in biblical studies.
I see how it has transformed my life and made me into a kinder more loving person. I believe that Jesus Christ is the answer – He is the way and the life.
BUT I also know not everyone believes this. AND that is ok. I can still love deeply and show kindness toward those who hold different beliefs without having to compromise the things I believe in.
I can also prayer that if someone does not know Jesus – they will because I know He has changed my life. I cannot help but hope you see Him do the same in your life. He loves above all else. Period.
And at the end of the day I can believe in Jesus and love His word and still love people who do not. My Bible is filled with stories of Jesus doing the same thing and I just want to follow His example.
AND frankly, that is all I am called to do. The rest will sort itself out.
So, in this world fueled with disagreements – let’s be a people who choose love first.
And perhaps, we would find that we have a lot more in common than we think.
I pray that I have given you some food for thought today.
Until next time,