Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Practice


"...in all things, love...."

I knew I had to practice to get better. It meant I had to stop looking back at what I'd already done. It meant the past could be a help to the future, but not a replacement for the present. I'd have to start practicing again. I had written and been published at the ripe age of 28. I had edited. But that is who I was, and I needed to write to who I was now.

Writing takes discipline. It takes time, and thought. It has to be genuine. For me, I am afraid that if I am honest I will come under scrutiny about my life, my thoughts, my politics, my faith, my choices, and the list could go on. If we are really truthful, we judge people every day on the basis of what they say (or don't say) or do (or don't do). I want to be given the benefit of the doubt, and want a healthy measure of grace given to me just like I want to give it to other people. But what if my ideas don't square up with your ideas? Or I hold so firmly to my ideas that no one else could dare contradict them? What if there was more of a spirit of understanding between people? Is that possible? Would it be worth the sacrifice of time to realize that people have different ideas, values, politics, and thoughts than mine?

So I've written in the past. Poetry. Short Stories. Essays. Blogs. Kid's publications. All very safe places to write or ghost write because there isn't much to be revealed that someone can judge you about. I've also learned that until I can walk around an issue from every angle, and try to understand where another person is coming from, my opinion does not really matter. If I don't actually work to establish a relationship with people where I love them in spite of the differences, my ideas aren't going to matter. People are colored by their own experiences. My experiences may be vastly different from theirs.

What if we learned to practice giving grace to others even if their ideas are different from our own? What would that look like?



3 comments:

  1. Or what if we realized that our experiences and our ideas are all unique and able to be used to help each other. If I only learn from me and my life, then I'll be quire shallow. But if I'm able to draw from other people's ideas, wisdom, experience, and knowledge, then I'll be able to avoid a lot of unnecessary falls. If God puts something on your heart, then you have to do it regardless of what people might think. They'll judge you whether you do it or not, but really, His opinion is all that matters. If you write through His love, then the relationship and groundwork will be there for others to receive it. (That's what I tell myself at least.)

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  2. St. Augustine once said: "In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; and in all things love." While he intended for this statement to apply to theological issues, I would suggest that really it can apply to many areas of life, first and foremost the essential teachings of the Bible. Some well meaning people hear this statement and firmly declare that this is easy believism that fosters a lack of moral standard. I would beg to differ. It states that there certainly are essentials (specifically to the faith) to which we need to hold fast. However, there is a vast sea of non-essentials that we can hold differing opinions on (how to best parent, style of worship, dress, evangelism, the list goes on and on), still be true followers of Jesus, and hopefully agree to disagree on. Many people have set their mind to wholeheartedly convincing others that their viewpoint is the correct one, completely missing the charity part, and as a result destroying Christian unity. Sadly, people are often so engrossed in their strongly held non-essential opinions that they fail to step back and see that Christians have so many beliefs that they can agree upon.

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  3. Good thoughts, Valerie. I've thought the same thing before. And I love the quote, it's one of my favorites.

    Micah, I agree. We can learn from other people, and God made us different by design and purpose. ;)

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