Less judging. More loving.

I’m starting to get to know someone.  Just a little bit.  But, it’s that thing that Anne of Green Gables (don’t even pretend you didn’t read the books) would call a kindred spirit.  Where there is an instant connection.  That thing in you that goes “hey, I really like this person.”  Because we don’t have to be dating to have chemistry with people.

I’m not too shy about being vulnerable when I sense this dynamic.  Maybe that scares people, just a little, because I’m going on a gut instinct, and mine kicks in pretty quick.  No matter.  I like this girl.  Have for quite some time now.  The thing is, I tried to get to know her a couple years ago, and… NADA.

We had a good chat recently.  And she took the opportunity to express why we never connected.  BECAUSE SHE KNEW I WAS A CHRISTIAN.  My heart broke.

It’s certainly not the first time I’ve heard people give a general sweep of what believers look like to them.  But I wonder if Christians understand how many of them have hurt, deeply, the very people they ought to be loving most?  It was not an easy thing for this new friend to admit she didn’t return phone calls because she wondered if I heard about things in her past, from other Christians, and was worried I’d treat her the way they had.

Doesn’t it make you pause?  She did not say it with self pity.  Nor, perhaps, even real judgement.  I sensed her pain more than anything.  And I gotta admit, as part of the body of Christ, I feel some responsibility for how hurt she feels now.

I have too many friends who can’t share with other believers their true selves.  Their pains.  Their hurts.  Especially if the struggles are viewed as self-inflicted.  I’m fairly certain it’s because Christians think that somehow loving a person through their pain means we endorse, or condone whatever it is they are dealing with.  Or that if we can act upset enough, judgmental enough, or indignant enough we can somehow alter the other persons’ path.  Not so.

I had someone share with me a scenario from many years in their past.  Part of a small group of believers – whether a Bible study or a prayer group I do not remember, but they met often.  One day, they were left with the news that one of their members was a sex offender.  And what did the pastor do?  He said: “but for the grace of God go I.”  That’s not the expected response is it?  But it’s Biblical.  We must all recognize our own weaknesses if we are going to be of any good to those around us.

The trouble is, we label sins – big sin.  little sin.  And typically, we aren’t bothered by the little ones.  We pray for forgiveness.  But we don’t ostracize one another for gluttony.  Or pride.  Or lying.  We stopped calling laziness a sin a while ago I think.  And consider gossip prayer requests.  But the BIG sins in life.  Well.  Those we condemn.  And the person along with it.

If you think I make a mistake, by loving through sins and pains and struggles and griefs… consider my friend’s reaction.  Of all the people she should be able to run to when she’s hurting, it ought to be believers.  And she couldn’t.  I don’t know what she’s been charged with by believers.  I don’t know what haunts her.  And it doesn’t matter.  Christ loves us in our fallen state.  He calls us to better – but He doesn’t wait for better before His favour will shine upon us.  His love and care for us is not based on our actions.  And neither should ours be for those around us.   Christ promises rest for anyone who comes to Him.  Who are we to offer any less???

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jen McLLaughlin
    Aug 16, 2010 @ 09:32:19

    Wow, just wow… Nicole you are so deep in so many ways and I truly feel blessed to have met you. I always take something away from any interaction I have with you, whether it be simply (and I say simply lightly) reading something you have written or a conversation we have had. There is always something that tugs just a little, leaves me with thought. I really miss you!!! This summer has gotten way too busy for me. I really would love to just slow down and enjoy… Keep doing what you’re doing because you truly do affect everyone around you!!!

    Reply

  2. Nicole
    Aug 16, 2010 @ 09:43:53

    Thank you so much Jen! I feel blessed to know you as well friend! I totally thought we were going to hang out all summer… 🙂 It did get away from us, didn’t it??

    Reply

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