This is something that has constantly been on my mind and probably the best place to “discuss” it would be here, on a blog. So here it goes.
I grew up in Orange County all my life. life in suburbia america, had a family that wasn’t involved in divorce or drugs nor did I have parents that were mean or abusive. I thought my life was pretty well off. And even though my mom got serious cancer and my dad died when I was young, I still thought my life was good. Ha! ….then I went to college.
I had the best 4 years of my life in school. I went to University of Evansville, in Indiana, got to enjoy what it is like leaving your parents behind (mind you never having changed schools other than for grade) and live on my own. The I met people in college who changed my worldview. Who taught me you don’t have to succumb to the standardized living made picture perfect by modern white America, that I can actually incorporate Christian living (which, btw, does not look like ANYTHING on TV) as my norm and that it was ok to stand up against authority and stand for what you believe in.
Then I moved back home. And besides trying to recover emotionally and spiritually from a broken engagement, I also had to recover moving back to suburbia America, back to the life I was trying to separate myself from. These were the hardest times of my life so far. I struggled with my mother, struggled internally, had the hardest time finding a church home, checking out everything (including Rock Harbor, something called “Faith Defenders” and even going back to my old childhood church (which I still support & love…continue reading.) Despite things that the outside world views as not important or significant, I made it through…in addition to finding a WONDERFUL church home in Messiah Lutheran with those alike and not like me. So here it what I have come down to….
Faith is important. And how you practice your faith is important to. And I strongly believe that you should honor whatever you claim to practice and know (meaning understanding and realize the implications of) what it means to follow Christ (or whatever faith if you want to go that far.) I have also learned not to judge by appearance, location or status. And I don’t mean I judged those less fortunate than myself. As some who has constantly been referred to as “hippie” i mean not judging those more well off than yourself. Or those who may live more accurately to what you what to believe. Envy is still a sin as jealously is.
When I returned to Orange County, I constantly badgered those who were in a better financial, economical, social and even spiritual standing than myself. I criticized their opinions and deflated their happiness just to make sure they understood money and success wasn’t everything. But then I realized I was causing just as much hurt as the rich man caused to the poor man. Those are people too–people who may have just as large a heart as the poor man, maybe give away half their resources, or go every year when possible serving those who need food, shelter or even water.
My pastor (who i think is quoting someone, not sure) always says “I can’t do all the good the world needs but the world needs all the good I can do.” It means—you do what you can. You stay true to God, to yourself, to your family and your faith community and you live out what you preach and try to be real within that. And as Christians, we are called NOT to judge. That God alone reserves this right. And therefore we ARE called to love God, love others (something our church is big on, i do not attend for this sole reason AND it was more of an after the fact statement when our church realized this is what they want as a motto…)
So I just want to remember people not to judge a book by any cover–to not judge people of where they stand. To love people, which means to understand and come & walk along side them, in whatever place they may be in their life, and for a Christian, to hopefully show how we are all called to walk along with Christ.