As I have mentioned before in my posts, I do not like offending people. And yet, when you have chosen a life mission that involves dismantling the belief system of the world’s most prominent religion, you are going to offend. I have accepted this. HOWEVER, yesterday, when I saw that I offended yet another dear Christian friend from college, I went on a long walk and talked to God about everything.
I brought my questions out into the open (and YES I talked out loud, so I’m sure some people thought I was crazy!), and asked things like,
“Am I unnecessarily offending the very people my heart longs to reach, simply because I am using wording that is too bold?”
“Am I more attached to being RIGHT, than I am to sharing Life and LOVE?”
“Have I gone to an extreme that is unnecessary?”
I just needed to bring these thoughts into the Light, and make sure that I am not going TOO FAR, being TOO BOLD, being TOO BLATANT with my words.
And the reason I had to ask these questions, is because I just really don’t want to offend people if I don’t have to. I don’t like it. I don’t like people getting angry and upset. It doesn’t feel good. I love these people. I don’t want to cause stress and anger in people.
So I was really transparent with God, and surrendered everything.
And I tried to put myself in their shoes. The shoes of some of the people who have said things like this (colors and bold font added by me) :
1) This article was like reading what Satan himself says.
2) Once you blog about your beliefs and invite us to be “brave” enough to think like you…. you open yourself up to others telling you just how ridiculous you sound.
3) That blog post is complete blasphemy. Show me where you got the idea that Jesus believes people are fully human and fully divine.
4) So, do you follow Jesus? Or not? And how does following Jesus make you not a Christian? What’s the freaking difference?
5) I have remained silent on your posts for a while because it seemed useless to give truth. These last few posts, however, are such blatant lies and so deceiving, that I would not want any wondering, wandering person to be led further astray.
6) I am not one to comment on such controversial topics, but I couldn’t keep my mouth shut any longer. Complete blasphemy.
7) Honestly when reading your blog I feel like I’m watching one of those folks on American idol that think they can sing… but can’t.
What do you hear in these comments? Anger . . . frustration, fear? These are Christians, most of whom I know from college and who actually know me as a person (at least from several years ago), who are taking time to read my blog posts and after reading them, are upset enough to make these comments publicly.
So in the spirit of truly wanting to understand if I am simply being too bold, too offensive, I honestly asked myself,
“What would make ME upset enough to go on someone else’s Facebook page and comment like this?”
I’m not being facetious – I hate offending people, and I TRULY wanted to understand where they are coming from. And so I remembered a situation a few years ago when I got REALLY upset with Vince on a car trip to Iowa with our daughter Autumn.
The subject was coffee.
I understand that love for coffee can not in any way compare to love for Christianity, but . . . maybe you don’t understand how much I LOVE coffee.
So here we are on a long road trip, and I am sitting in the passenger seat enjoying my Starbucks, Vince is driving, and Autumn is in the back. Vince starts talking about coffee and how bad it is for you.
He tells Autumn, “Sweetie, don’t ever get addicted to coffee. It’s a drug just like anything else that you could get addicted to.”
My blood starts boiling. I stay really quiet, but every cell in my body is seething with anger at Vince. 20 minutes later, we stop at a gas station, and I tell him I need to talk to him privately. I take him away from the car and face him. My face is turning dark red, blood vessels popping out, as I scream at him at the top of my lungs:
“How DARE you disrespect something I love like that! Don’t you EVER bring up coffee again in front of our daughter!!! I can’t believe you would talk like that in front of her!!!”
And he doesn’t react, he just says, “Ok, I’m sorry sweetie. But if you love it so much, why do you care what I think about it?”
And that made me even MORE mad.
So why did I get so mad? Granted, it wasn’t super cool for Vince to bash something that I loved, right as I’m trying to enjoy it; however, my anger stemmed from my own insecurity related to my coffee use during that time in my life. I had doubts about whether I was too dependent on coffee or not. Deep down, even though I would NOT have admitted it to anyone, I was concerned that coffee was not good for me, and I didn’t want anything to reveal the fear I had that I might need to stop drinking it. The reality was, my use of coffee WAS unhealthy, but my fears of having to give it up completely were unfounded. Once I became healthier with my diet and my entire life, coffee took a healthy place.
So if this conversation were to happen today, and Vince were to say the exact same words, I would not get angry. I feel confident about my love for coffee, and I would just speak to Autumn right after him, telling her, “You know Autumn, I see what your dad is saying, but I disagree with his extreme stance on it – I don’t think coffee is necessarily bad. I drink it and don’t have any negative effects in my life from it. So your dad and I disagree on this point – you can make your own decision about it later.”
See the difference? I’m at peace with my coffee, so I wouldn’t get upset if Vince stated his strong opinion about it.
So when I remembered this event, it HIT me, that I need to let go of this doubt that I may be unnecessarily offending people with my big Christianity topics. I’m speaking boldly, not mincing words, not softening my message, because I’m VERY passionate about the Life and Truth that I’ve found. I am not more attached to being “right” than to being loving. My heart in my writing is to bring Life and Love and freedom to people – the freedom that I have experienced in my own life.
Some ideas need to be shouted from the rooftops, and the fact that I’ve found something that I’m inspired by enough to shout loudly about on Facebook, in the face of judgment, is exciting to me, and I need to keep going!
If people get offended, it says more about them than it does about me. Whatever is REAL and TRUE is, by definition, unchanging and unshakable. Love and Truth can NOT be threatened, because they are solid. If the belief system someone is standing on is not really the truth, their sense of security is gonna feel threatened when someone exposes it, and they’re gonna get afraid and angry. I don’t claim to have all the answers by any means, but the knowledge and experience I do have feels REALLY solid to me, and I am not threatened by any of these comments. I’m gonna keep going.
And I encourage YOU – whatever your passion, whatever stories or secrets or parts of yourself you are longing to reveal to the world — I encourage you to DO IT! Take a stand! Take the plunge! It’s worth it!
If we’re not offending people, we’re probably not really living fully and fearlessly.
Jesus offended people ALL the time.
In fact, he said, “I came not to bring peace, but a sword.”
I guess before things on earth can get super peaceful, we have to first stir things up a bit, and I’m happy to do my share.
Love you all!
Photo Credit: SCC somecanuckchick dot com