Sunday, April 09, 2017

Truth. Love. Truth

So if you, dear reader, have read through the very first part of my blog, you'll find that some of my posts really lash out against "the culture", more specifically academia. I haven't written much about those sorts of things mainly because I've been away from academia so long, but also because my views have changed.


I still believe that The Bible is the true Word of God, Jesus died on the cross to redeem us and forgive us for our sins, that He shall return one day and make the world perfect, that Jesus is the representation of true Love, and that God is Creator.

I also have been wrestling with the realization that I probably made some pretty big mistakes when I went about convincing people of the above truths.

My initial Christian training went along the lines of what most would call fundamentalist Christianity, and our pastor talked a lot about how society has gotten gender and the family all wrong. This was rather pertinent as I was in the middle of getting my degree(s) in Human Development and Family Studies. Indeed, I saw that when a spouse put power ahead of loving and serving his family, the family unit was more at risk for domestic violence, divorce, marital conflict, etc. I say 'his' because most of the time, perpetrators of domestic abuse are men. I used the word 'spouse' in the above example because God intended for a man and a woman to marry and commit to each other to form the foundation of their family.

I still believe all that.

I also believed that when I talked to a person who identified as LGBT, I was to act friendly toward them, but my real intention was to get them to trust me enough so I could give them the low down on why God does not intend for them to live an LGBT lifestyle. I believed that a man was to provide for the family financially, and the woman was ideally a homemaker. I saw many families that made it work at my church in Fort Collins and thought, "Well, hey, they're happy, and they can homeschool their children, so cool." If I met a person who believed in old earth Evolution, I would watch for ways to get into that God is Creator conversation. If I met anyone who had a viewpoint other than mine, I was taught to be civil, but my ultimate goal was to convince them of the Christian viewpoint because if they knew Truth, they would know the Gospel and would eventually accept Christ.

I probably annoyed a lot of people. Looking back, I wonder if some people saw me as that nice sweet fundamentalist Christian HDFS girl from college. More seriously, I wonder how much my actions drove them toward or away from Christ.

After graduating from college, I had my own faith crisis of finding a human services job during a recession and without the ability to get a drivers' license. One would be surprised at how many entry level human services jobs require a driver's license. Makes sense if one is to visit families or child care sites etc. Someone should've told me that earlier, but that's a whole other blog post.

Anyway, my focus became less about sharing my faith on campus and more about working enough hours at a job I didn't like so I could pay rent, pay my student loans, and eat some food. I still clung to faith but it was hard.

Along the way, I found that a lot of people needed love first. As I have gotten further along in life and at the ripe age of 32 (!!), I found that a hug rather than a short apologetics lesson is what hurting people need. Not just being nice so you can share truth, but actual loving them. Social skills training for this nearly Aspie Christian also helped too.

When I met my sweet husband, I was right up against the old debate of family again. Do I write him off because he did family wrong, or do I give him a chance and let him tell his story first? I listened to God and He instructed me to do the latter.

With my stepson, I do my best to show him love so he can trust me as a parental figure. Only after I did that, did we have some small conversations about God, church, etc. Are there times where I slip up and get impatient with him if he's giving his dad attitude about going to church? Yup But there are also times when I have rubbed his back for some sensory input during the message or gently asked him to not prod his dad during the sermon. We have prayed about his homework and we have prayed for sweet hubs when sweet hubs goes to sing with the Sunday school classes leaving my stepson and I to attend service together.

My blog post title is Truth. Love. Truth. I'm grateful for the apologetics lessons I learned in college and how deeply we studied the Bible. I learned so much about God and wouldn't trade that for anything. Learning to balance sharing Truth in love has been the hardest part of my development as a Christian. My instinct is to just tell people the right answer if I believe they are wrong, and that's exactly what I did. However, I slowly learned that people need God's love. I've learned to lend a listening ear first before just spouting out Truth. But when the person is receptive and God says it's the right time, I will tell them Truth: Jesus loves them. If we get into a discussion about other issues, fine, but they need to know that the truth is out there and that truth is Jesus came to bring them perfect Love.