April 13, 2006

building, not burning, bridges :)

to all the people i’ve hurt…

with my harsh words and with my judgmental silence…

with my aggressiveness to attack and my failure to admit mistakes…

i’m sorry.

especially when i've inflicted hurt in the course of talking about God --- how can i draw people to Him when i make such an awful ambassador? (sure, i could always hide behind the “nobody’s perfect” excuse, but still i could have been more patient, gentler, kinder, and yes, nicer. besides since i'm talking to them about God, i do what i do for their benefit, not mine.)

a dear friend told me it’s hard to discuss issues of faith because it deals with the very core of one’s being. in recent months, i've found out the hard way how this is true. disagreeing on critical faith issues (and even on trivial ones) is equivalent to rejecting the entire person. whether one feels strongly about God, or gods, or does not care at all, if your beliefs clash, then you clash.

if this sounds like a harsh generalization, let’s look more closely: a person who follows God knows about Him. an unbeliever or a skeptic does not know about God (yet!). if these two people talk about food, movies, and the like, they may have different favorites but it’s ok --- we’re entitled to our opinions. but God is not an opinion, He is the Truth. if the same two people disagree, the believer would hold on to what he is sure is true. this might seem like intolerance, or arrogance, to the skeptic/unbeliever. why can’t they both be right, or why can’t the unbeliever/skeptic be right (like in their favorite food)? because God is not an opinion, He is the Truth.

i've seen some of my friendships strained to the limit, or worse (hence the apology at the start of this entry). i felt so frustrated, and used to review scenes in my mind where “it all went wrong”: what did i say? how did i react? what should i have done instead? aside from knowing that i misrepresented God in my unloving ways, i can’t stand hurting people because there’s no second take, no time travel to undo things.

all this has been a lesson in humility for me: (1) i don’t have all the answers, and (2) i should let insults go out the other ear because it’s about God and about them (i’m just the messenger). and most importantly, (3) i’m not a savior :) let go and let God! even if a discussion did not end amicably (hope this becomes less frequent), it’s all in God’s hands :) BUT i'll pray and pray and pray :)

but i’ve also been blessed with relationships that affirm my value as a person even if we disagree on God, “the most important issue of all”. so yay =) i'm thankful for these because Jesus told us to love; that all will know we follow Him because we love each other (John 13:35). there's the rub: i can most effectively show God’s love to those who haven’t known or haven’t accepted Him yet, if i continue to love them as they are right now.

so there it is. help us, God, to love each other as You have loved us. Give us Your love, Your compassion, Your humility and Your grace. this is for Your glory and for their salvation :) amen :)

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