A friend recently gave me one of the greatest compliments I’ve ever received.
“If he’s going to be a Christian, I want him to be Christian the way you are. Love, and grace, and all that” he said.
The “he” my friend referred to, was a co-worker who recently chose Jesus and was in the process of learning what this new “Christian” life would entail. As we all know, not all who claim to follow Jesus, like the part of loving like Jesus. Instead, dealing with insecurities and flaws by taking parts of the Bible out of context and using them to find fault in others. My friend fears the new convert could inadvertantly end up on this path.
It takes humility to let faith be about you and God alone...and not you, God, and what everyone else is doing.
Which is why hearing these words from my friend filled me joy. I’ve spent too much of my life worried and threatened by the person across the room, instead of removing that plank in my own eye.
Adding to the compliment, my friend has been wounded and mistreated by those in the church. To say he finds Christians annoying, is perhaps an understatement. My husband and I have understood and respected both his resentment of faith, and his choices concerning it. In return, we have received equal respect for ours.
My friend’s kind words are evidence, understanding and respect go much farther than the need to be “right.”
I’m not sure God calls us to be right. I don’t think He needs it. He is the author of all truth after all.
But I do know He calls us to be loving. And love looks like respect. Love looks like making room for people different than you. Love requires letting it go, when you’re justified to lash out.
Sometimes love requires a few years of therapy to figure it out. Most of the time it helps for someone else to be brave enough to love first.
I’ve had both.
Yet, I still catch myself fighting to be right. I certainly don’t have it all figured out.
But I’d rather stand before God wrong on a few theological points, than be right and have to tell Him no one ever looked at me and saw His love staring back.