There’s only so much we can do in regards to sharing our thoughts and opinions on things while not offending people. Jesus spoke truth yet his words were offensive to many and still are offensive today. People don’t like to be reminded that we’re all equal, because that means they can’t justify why they are ‘better’ than those they look down upon. Jesus confronted the self righteousness and abusive ways of the religious folk in his day and doing so today brings about the same response those folks did back then. Call out a bully in defense of the victim and they accuse you of being judgmental. Accusations like this freeze people from standing up to bullies.
It’s going to be natural that people will differ on doctrines. There are so many perspectives on the bible and it’s evident by the 35,000+ denominations we have today, but what I find interesting about differences is that we have such a difficult time learning how to be gracious in disagreements. It really all comes down to maturity, but even the people we think are mature still battle with fear. Fear is the real enemy. We all suffer from fear, some more often than others. Fear causes people to belittle each other, verbal bomb one another, and even manipulate one another. It’s a trap that renders us impotent. Fear puts us in bondage. This kind of bondage can negatively affect our relationships, our jobs, and our growth as human beings. When this kind of bondage renders us useless to even make positive decisions then we need to re-examine ourselves. I found myself in this position in regards to how I express my faith.
I have no problem jumping to the defense of people who are being victimized by bullies, but defending myself against folks who attack me can be quite daunting. Learning when to take the time to expound further on my beliefs and when to ignore people who are just there to attack is something I take seriously. Sometimes I take it so seriously that I don’t know what to do or to say. It’s a good thing we have comment moderation in blogs so I can have time to think about things and get advice from friends before responding.
In my old path of religion we were told not to be ashamed of what we believe. Well, I came to do just that. I came to be ashamed that I followed a religious bully for so long and followed that type of perspective on God. Being bold, as were told to do, with my former beliefs caused me to lose interaction with people I loved. We were assured that we should not be concerned with how others felt about our beliefs, that if they pulled away it was their own problem. Yet the consequences were fractured relationships. In the long run I came to realize that it wasn’t worth it. It wasn’t worth it to lose relationships based on the god and religious bully (who claimed to speak on his god’s behalf) that told me to condemn people to hell then if they walked away it was their own fault. In hindsight, I can see that my views were abusive and the consequence of relationships being fracture wasn’t the fault of my loved ones, it was mine. This is what has played a role in me being paralyzed to express my new path. I’ve been afraid that expressing my all inclusive view of God would push people away and that it would be my fault.
I need to draw a line in the sand for my own sanity and spiritual growth. I don’t like to do this, but if I don’t have a boundary for myself then I will be paralyzed by everyone else’s opinions and I don’t want to be in that kind of bondage. The difference this time is that I will be rejected by viewing God as all forgiving, all merciful, and all loving. Whereas before, I was rejected because I viewed God as limited in forgiveness, limited in mercy, and limited in love. I would rather be rejected for viewing God as all inclusive than for being rejected for viewing God as a religious bully. It’s greater for me to be standing on the side of grace than on the side of condemnation. So if I’m rejected for standing on the side of grace, then I’ll live with that and know that I chose to walk the path of love.
I do hope that people can at least appreciate that I view God with such an outstanding hope, even if they disagree with my view. I want to preserve my relationships, but I refuse to remain in bondage of what bullies think of me.