For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.” Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?
1 Corinthians 1:18-20 (New International Version, ©2010)~
At times like these, I wonder if some people will ever come around. I don’t relish being someone’s emotional punching bag, but if God directs me to take a few hits for the sake of helping someone understand His word, well, I guess I have little choice in the matter. But where do you draw the line? When do you stop letting someone throw stones at you and start throwing some of them back? Is it even Christian to want to do this?
These are not easy questions and since I am not anywhere near as good as I would like to be, I have no easy answers. I can only say that it is not necessary to let someone who isn’t yet living their life by the word use it as a weapon against you. Not because they don’t have the right to pick up God’s word and try to understand it, but because the power of His word is absolutely non-existent when used in the context of an “I told you so.” God doesn’t want us to pick and choose which parts of the Bible we can use against one another. And He simply won’t tolerate our straddling the fence between following Him and following our flesh. Even if both of our legs are easily touching the ground, we must choose a side.
There are people in this world with whom I may never agree. I don’t have to accept them into my life. I don’t have to like them. I don’t have to hang around with them. I don’t hate them and I wish them no harm, but it is not necessarily my duty to go out of my way to allow them to be dysfunctional or to throw out false concern for their well-being. Of course, I want everyone to be okay and I wish that people didn’t have to endure the struggles they endure. But there are some people out there who absolutely expect to be coddled. They absolutely feel that they deserve your sympathy and attention simply because it can’t possibly be their fault that their lives are screwed up. When my life was in the toilet, I knew without a doubt that I was the main reason why it had gone that way. I put some of the blame on my parents for a while, but later realized that my role in my own destruction was far greater than anyone else’s could have been.
Should God ask me to do something for someone with whom I’ve had a disagreement, my duty is to obey God, not to appease man. And so, if it offends someone that I don’t share their affinity for a certain person, place or thing I can do little to fix that unless He calls on me to fix it. It is not as though everyone else in the world absolutely embraces the things that I love or hold dear. What a boring place this world would be if that were true. The point is this; when you love someone, you don’t hold the expectation that they will always love everything that you love unconditionally. Sometimes it has to be enough that they tolerate the things you love because they love you. If that isn’t good enough then it isn’t about love at all, it’s about control. When you understand that, you’re about halfway there.
Then Joab went into the house to the king and said, “Today you have humiliated all your men, who have just saved your life and the lives of your sons and daughters and the lives of your wives and concubines. You love those who hate you and hate those who love you. You have made it clear today that the commanders and their men mean nothing to you. I see that you would be pleased if Absalom were alive today and all of us were dead.
~2 Samuel 19:5-6 (New International Version, ©2010)~