Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Trying to See My Way Clear

Grey areas are so grey, you know?

Nuances. Personal preferences. Traditions for the sake of tradition. Deference. Convictions.

I am not against traditions. I'm not even necessarily against doing something because its the way it has always been done. I am against thinking that something is better only on the merits that it has always been done that way.

Old doesn't always equal good. New doesn't always equal bad. And the reverse is true for both also.

It does grate me when someone sights the fact that something has always been done this way. Because I am too black and white. Too historically in-tune to go for that. If you want to get down to the nitty gritty, something that has always been done this way, can usually be traced to a pretty specific starting point. Which, incidentally, is not at Creation, aka, the beginning of time. The beginning of our measurable "always."

No, if you want to be completely honest, a tradition may be a hundred or even hundreds of years old. But that is really all. A very few traditions may be thousands of years old, but that still doesn't account for the rest of the time this tradition didn't happen.

And whatever its longevity, tradition does not necessarily equal Biblical grounds.

Ideas of dress and modesty. Music. Politics. Worship.

There are some pretty clear guidelines about these subjects in the Bible. People did die for messing up in some of these areas, so they are important. But, often all that is written is a framework then the rest is left up to personal interpretation and preference and common sense.

If it isn't spelled out then it falls into the very grey area of preference. And what each individual feels is the way God wants them to live out a particular topic. How will God be most glorified by my actions in this area?

But, what ends up happening is that we make rules for the grey areas. Issues become much more murky by adding traditions and not giving offense and deference and nuance and everything else.

There is the relevant rule of love. Loving our neighbor the way God loves us. Sacrificially. Unselfishly. Let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own needs, but every man also on the needs of others. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus...(Philippians 2)

And so we are weighing glorifying God, putting our brother first, and being true to the person God created us to be. In all of those personality nuances and quirks. And it gets so overwhelming this tight rope walk of...of...

We start to judge in our hearts and then with our mouths.

Who art you that judges another man's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Yes, he shall be held up: for God is able to make him stand. One man esteems one day above another: another esteems all days alike. Let every man be persuaded in his own mind. (Romans 14: 4-5)

How? How do you not judge? How can you be fully persuaded in your own mind? How do you live at peace? How do you do all at once?

Maybe I need to get a thicker skin, but I am tired of people inferring that I need to conform to someone else's ideas that they are not supporting by Scripture.

I am tired of feeling like I give and give and give and try so hard to please people. I try to not offend people. And yet, some people are always offended, never grateful, never pleased.

I am tired of feeling like I can defer, so I should. I can be the bigger person, so just be the bigger person. Such and such is not a life and death issue to me, so I can let it go.

I am tired of people being offended but never wondering how they might be offending me.

Does that sound selfish? Self-focused? I'm sure it is.

But, here is what I am trying to do. I am trying to walk a line. And figure out boundaries. And sift through how much bull and bullying God expects me to put myself through. Because just because God uses everything for good does not mean it was good. The end result does not excuse bad behavior.

I am trying to wade through the issue of why, since these things are preferences and traditions, not Biblical mandates, one person's preference takes precedence over another's. Is it blatant favoritism or just that the squeaky wheel gets the grease?

Sometimes the things people do make me mad. I get annoyed, and annoyance is what it is. I think my annoyance reveals something I need to work on or let go. Sometimes people do things that make me cry. And those are the things that really reveal where I am vulnerable.

Sometimes I'd like people to realize that though I am a very strong woman, I still need a hug on occasion.

I don't know what the answer is. I am sure it is in growing a thicker skin. I am sure it is in developing a much more humble spirit. I am sure it is in following the example of Christ.

It is in praying, "Lord, refine me. Make my heart like Your heart."

It may even occasionally be in writing rambling angst filled blogs posts that show my struggles. And how I have not even sort of arrived. Because I might not struggle with keeping my house cleaned-but my heart, well, that is another matter.

Just so it's all clear-clear as mud.=)