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Archive for April, 2014

A few weeks ago, I pick my almost 11-yr old (gasp!) son, Will, up from school. As we are driving off, he makes the offhand comment “Hey, there’s one of the Anti-Wills….”

 

Ummm, the what?

 

“One of the Anti-Wills, Mom.  You know, the kids who are against me, that actively don’t like me…”

What?  Who ever heard of such a thing?  Why would someone NOT like Will?  He’s like the greatest kid EVER (at least according to his momma…)

 

After talking with Will a bit longer about it, I get the full story on at least one of the Anti-Wills (and he says there are exactly 5 out there).

It seems that one day, as Will was eating breakfast in the cafeteria all by himself, minding his own business, several other 5th grade boys come sit all around him.  They are talking and cutting up and one of them asks Will to trade places with him so that he could sit next to another of the friends.

Me, I would have said “Sure!  No problem” and scooted over.

 

What does Will do, you ask?

 

I cringe even as I type this….

He says “No.

 

As if “No” wasn’t bad enough, he follows it up with “Try and make me. ”

 

WHAT???

It gets better… “I was here first,” he says, “You can either both move and sit somewhere else together or you can try and make me move.   You sat down next to me, remember?” (did I mention he has no filters?  Zero. Nada. Every single last possible filter is MIA.)

As a mom, I’m wanting to slap him upside the head, even as he is telling the story.

 

So what happened?  Well, the kid came around and tried to make him move, of course.  We are talking about 5th grade boys here.

When I asked Will how it resolved, Will says “I did my best rock impression…and he couldn’t make me move.  He had to go sit somewhere else.”  And since then, this kid has been active Anti-Will and shown his dislike for my son through his words and actions at school.

 

As I relay this story to Dallas, expecting him to back me up with my more gentle approach, I instead get this –  “Dang straight! I’m proud of you, son.  Way to stand up for yourself…”

Huh?

 

Guys, I’m not kidding you.  God has been messing with me on this one.  SERIOUSLY messing me with, and I have a feeling He’s not done.  Hang with me….

I get so frustrated when I think about how our modern culture characterizes Christians as intolerant hatemongers, but then, all too often, I see Christians do what I consider to be stupid things in the name of taking a stand for the Gospel that don’t appear to reflect His love at all to me.  Are they all missing the boat on what God wants from us?  God cracked the door open on this one for me when I was listening to Jen Hatmaker speak at the recent IF: Gathering.

She says:

“We can’t make the Gospel real for people if we keep thinking of people outside our circles as enemies…  I see Christians take the Gospel, which we love and treasure, and try to guard it so nobody can mess with our Gospel. We have a defensive  posture, guns blazing, daring people to come near it. Here’s the problem with that—Christ came to seek and save those who are lost. It’s not the healthy who need a doctor, it’s the sick. So if we had the eyes of our Savior, we would view them not as our enemies, but as future brothers and sisters in Christ…”

So I have been rolling this around in my head and heart, been talking with God about it, trying to figure out whether the answer is always to love people, even if it means backing down from what I know to be truth and justice, or whether it means bowing up and defending that truth – taking my proverbial stand – even if some of the unintended consequences of that means I have helped push people who need to experience God’s grace or God’s love a little bit further away from that.

 

I have hesitated to put this down in writing because I know people may have strong reactions one way or another – just like Dallas and I did in Will’s situation.

What I am wondering is this – is there a set right answer or response for every single Christian?

Don’t get me wrong – I will always err on the side of loving people.  That’s one of the ways God made me – with a heart for shepherding people.  Love God and love people.  But there are those who are called to be evangelists – to preach the gospel, loudly and proudly, to be out front.  There are those who have the gift of service – to serve quietly and humbly in the background.   And there are those with the gift of mercy.

There are warriors and there are peacemakers – by God’s own design.

And then there is, as Christians, our mission field –  hurting people who need to know and understand the love of Christ and the grace He offers.  There is no set formula for expressing this message because every one of the individuals who need to hear of His love are different  – some will best understand His love through deep theological debates, some will understand it thru emotions and acts of selfless love.  Why do we think there is a right and wrong way (and that we always know the right and wrong way) and give no grace to other Christians around us who are (hopefully) seeking to express this message in the way God designed them to do, just because they may do that differently than we do?   Are we so perfect that we always know Jesus’s heart (and act accordingly) while they do not?  What if – just what if – it was God’s design all along that it takes the whole Body of Christ, with all of its diverse giftings and experiences, to represent Him and who He is?

We serve a God who loves variety, who loves diversity – I see it every morning in the colors of the sunrise.  I mean, the same God who created the vast stillness of a desert also picked up his paintbrush and created the rain forests, full of life and movement.  The same God who created the delicate ladybug also created the majestic blue whale.  What if, in order for the body of Christ to function like He intended,  we need Christians who will be willing to love on people, no matter what the cost, AND Christians who will proclaim His truth (and hopefully avoid actively hating on people in the process)?

 

Jen Hatmaker makes reference in that same talk about how our God doesn’t really need defending – He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

There is nothing..let me stress that again…NOTHING anyone can do – our culture, our government, even Satan himself – that will defeat Him.   He has already won.  We can stand in confidence, knowing this to be truth.

With that foundation of truth in mind,  what if everyone in the body of Christ actually sought God’s heart and direction before we jumped into action or before we started bashing each other in our reactions or responses?  What if we actually put His love and His heart for people above our own agendas? What if we took a good look at our own self-righteousness and stopped assuming we have all of the answers?  Novel concept, right?   Not every Christian is going to get it right every time, but if we started by not throwing each other under the bus, would there be less hate in the world? Maybe, maybe not.  But perhaps there would be less hate within the global body of Christ, which only hinders our ability to truly show the world His amazing heart and incomparable love.

Can we stop fighting with each other in an attempt to “be right” and start battling the real enemy?

 

All of these thoughts sprang out of some random 5th grade cafeteria antics. God is pretty funny sometimes.

                                                    – Kacey                               

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