Sunday, July 26, 2015

It's almost enough to make me believe in God

My daughter's honeymoon hotel room.
A few months ago I got a nasty message from a blog reader, which informed me that I was a hypocrite and that they were done with me. It was anonymous, of course. It was interesting, because it was written in an Irish brogue of sorts. I have to wonder, is this a version of putting on a fake voice and accent when making an obscene phone call? Seriously, if someone wants to say something like that and they believe they are right, they should have the courage to put their name to it. Nasty anonymous comments are just cowardly.

I honestly can't remember everything that this anonymous person said, but one thing really stood out. They said that I was a hypocrite because I allowed fornication to take place under my roof. It is a fact that two of my adult children had their significant others living with them in my home. It had been a long-term situation, pre-dating my Christianity. I had known there there would be those who would be judgmental about it, but most Christians I knew were so loving that it just slipped my mind.

One of the most disturbing things about this anonymous message is that it must have come from someone who knows me, or my children, pretty well. It isn't as though I went around writing about these things. It is always disturbing when you find yourself in a position of looking around you, wondering which smiling face is actually throwing knives at your back.

At any rate, I decided to talk to a couple of my pastors about it. There were two churches I attended, and so I had a few pastors in my life. While neither of them accused me of being a hypocrite, turns out they both agreed with the anonymous comment, and both encouraged me to enforce different living arrangements for my kids. By the time I spoke to Pastor Matt, a couple of weeks had passed since my conversation with the first pastor, and you know, I had prayed about the matter, and I was absolutely convinced that God was not telling me to take matters into my own hands and lay down the law. I had made an appointment to speak to Pastor Matt because I was serving on the prayer team at the church, and while it was okay if someone wanted to judge me, it wasn't okay if I brought that judgment on the church. So I decided I should tell him and volunteer to step down from my position on the prayer team. He was very nice, and did make several suggestions for things I could do, but I told him no, that this was not what I thought God wanted. I told both the pastors that if God had a problem with the situation then God was perfectly capable of handling it.

In the meantime, I honestly did feel rejected. I am not saying that I was, just that I felt that way. And that opened the crack wide enough for me to start reflecting on all the questions and doubts I already harbored about my faith. I am all for the God of Love, but I had an awful lot of problems with the God of Judgment. This is nothing new. I have written about it many times. And I started bringing it up again then. I think people thought I posted things for the purpose of challenging their faith, but in all honestly I posted questions looking for answers, although by now I should know that those answers don't exist. At any rate, I ended up walking away once again.

Meanwhile, within a matter of weeks after these discussions, one of my kids and his significant other (1) got engaged and started planning a wedding for next year, then (2) got a place of their own and moved out of my house, and then (3) decided they didn't want to wait for a year and do a big wedding and are getting married next month instead.

My other child I also expected to marry her significant other, but didn't really think it would happen in the near future. They too were talking about 2016. But funny enough, there was a surprise pregnancy, and they decided to get married before that got too far advanced. They actually just celebrated their two-month wedding anniversary yesterday.

So I'm sitting around thinking, huh. I haven't spoken to either pastors for a long time, and one left me with the impression that he thought I was arrogant because I put my thoughts above God's or some such thing. The whole entire thing felt to me that "church rules" were being placed over what I absolutely believed God was saying to me, and over what I thought was the loving response. And a part of me wants to say, "I told you so. I told you that if God had a problem with it then he would deal with it. And he did, pretty quickly." The problem with this is that it would have to imply that they were right, that God is who they say he is, and that he actually did think that this situation needed to change, and well, I don't really agree with that anymore. I have rejected the Judgmental God. I have rejected the "narrow path." I have not rejected God, although I struggle with maintaining a relationship with him. It is difficult to have a relationship with someone you don't know, after all. If God is not the God of Ezekiel and Jeremiah, of Joshua, of Paul, then who is he? I know of some local churches I could attend, but you know, I have read The Book, and all those things I don't like are in it. So on what do those other churches base their faith? Maybe one day I will venture forth and find out. In the meantime, Sunday is the first day of my weekend, and Sunday morning is the ideal time for me to get my house cleaning done.

As for the coincidences and synchronicities in my life and my children's? I think it is probably God, first confirming that what I had heard was not wrong, and second just saying, this is creating a problem for Sharon with others, so let's fix it.

I came to the conclusion that I am a waste of time for those Christians who really wanted to nurture my faith. Most of them are gone now, and I miss them, but really and truly how many times do we need to go through this? When I started asking those questions again, one of my pastors said, "Do we have to dance this dance again?" And I replied, "I guess it is just mine to dance." He left me then, and I danced alone for a bit and then wandered off, to explore the universe in its amazing vastness.

I have flip flopped on this often enough that I feel I must have managed to alienate people on both sides of the issue. So if you are with me still, I have to thank you. You can't trust me perhaps. If I tell you I know the truth, you will know that next month the truth I know may have changed. But there are a couple of things I can tell you. I am not a hypocrite. I am absolutely and totally sincere, and I am in sincere pursuit of something that I suspect may be just beyond our grasp, and that is The Truth. Maybe it is impossible for us to know what the absolute truth is. We can just do the best we can.

But it matters not. Let me confess. I DO NOT KNOW THE TRUTH. In the end, maybe I don't really have to. I just need to try to live in the best way that I can. And that requires LOVE for all, always and especially my children.

16 comments:

  1. Sharon you are beautiful and a true Christian...a follower of Christ. Sad that people have nothing better to do..Judge not, lest ye be judged..This is one of the reasons I stopped going to "church" in a building with a pastor, priest, what have, you standing at the pulpit passing judgement on their congregation. I believe in God, I believe In Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. I do not believe in man . Love to you Sharon and the heck with such fools that write that nonsense to you !!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. First and foremost, you are not a hypocrite or are you arrogant. You are a loving mother who does her personal best to do what is Christian in your life. GOD will continue to love you and forgive you of your sins whether you attend a manmade church or pray from your heart in your own living room. Since I was a child growing up I remember my parents wanting me to attend Catacism????? with my older sister and younger brother. They both continued but I told my mom and dad that I wanted to believe in GOD, Jesus and the Holy Spirit in my own way. That I felt if I prayed from wherever I was my prayers would be heard and answered and many have already have been. We the people we are in the present can never be like the people in the Bible or anywhere like the people from many years in the past. Time goes on and in those times people and things change. I'm sure this was all expected and if not, oh well it has. You Sharon know much more about the Bible and God then I do but we both know that we will live on and make mistakes and we'll be forgiven. Don't question yourself so much about what this one judgemental person has put upon you. What others think about you is none of your business. The opinion you have of yourself is the most important and then of course there comes your family and friends, who will think the best of you if that's what you project to them. If they truly love you and respect you that's all that really matters. Because unfortunately you will not always be everything to everybody who knows and loves you. You can love many and love many things about them but there will always be something or many things about someone that you just may not like about them......and that's just part of life. You cannot please everyone and really there is no reason to have to. Not sure if I have gotten off path here but oh well. I love you my dear friend and have for many years. But, because our lives have gone in different directions we are unable to spend as much time with each other as I personally would have liked to. Maybe if we had, we would find out that there are things about each of us that we don't like in each other which is to be expected. But until that time comes, if it ever does, I'm content in knowing what I know about you and continue to think that you are a strong, intelligent, loving, kind, compassionate individual that I am honored to call my dear friend. Love Deb

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Deb! Of course there are thinks we don't like in other people, but that does not prevent us from loving them. I personally think you are an amazing woman and I love you very much!

      Delete
  3. the double minded is unstable in every way

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nice catch phrase, but it doesn't mean anything. I doubt. I think there is good reason to doubt. And if God wants to send me to hell because I don't agree with sending other good people to hell, then that would make him too petty to be God.

      Delete
  4. You sound like you dont believe in the God of the Bible

    ReplyDelete
  5. Why all the judging on this blog? If you don't like it, think it's wrong, or it personally or biblically bothers you, then don't read or follow this blog. It's that simple. Move on! Sharon, keep writing. You mean a lot to us readers and followers.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Been thinking about Holocaust survivor Corrie Ten Boom who was forced into a concentration camp—had several relatives murdered and still kept her faith in Christ.
    ?? Were things different….and the tragic kidnap had not occurred….I wonder if this post title would still be
    Similar to King Agrippa’s response to Paul in Acts 26:28 ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nope, not at all. I can resolve the issue of Michaela's kidnapping with my faith in God. What I have difficulty with are things like the notion of people who don't believe Jesus died for their sins will go to hell. I have a friend who is an angel on earth. She is a compassionate animal control officer, she works in hospice with the elderly and is now training to do pediatric hospice work, and she and a group of friends not connected with any organization regularly go and feed the homeless in San Francisco. But she is not a Christian. So she is going to go to hell? Can't bring myself to believe in that kind of a God, you know?

      Delete
    2. Whether someone gets into heaven is God's judgment and His alone and not for one "Christian" to decide the fate of another human being. Spending time worrying about who gets into heaven is pointless because it is not for us to decide! We could debate it for eternity and wring our hands and get mad at each other but what is the point!? It is God's decision and His alone. We shouldn't frustrate ourselves with such things. Sharon, please don't put other "Christians" between your DIRECT relationship with God! The moment you believed in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit - the Holy Counselor who guides you. It is a VERTICAL relationship. We also need the horizontal relationship with other Christians, but that vertical relationship is what grounds us.
      I don't understand everything but I do know that God is a loving and a just God. His decisions are just. He sees the whole picture while we see just a piece of the puzzle. We are focused on the flesh because that is where we live but he is focused on the "whole picture" and the eternal. He loves us perfectly and unconditionally. That is all we need to know. Have faith.
      Trust in Him and go where He leads you.
      Praying for you! --- Amber

      Delete
  7. ......pitiful ending :'( MT 10:32-33

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Why is it whenever I feel God tapping on my shoulder reminding me that he is there and he loves me, one of his people feels the need to come along and try to push me away again? Interesting question, isn't it?

      Delete
  8. Dear Anonymous, from your "accent" I assume you are the person who wrote me the message that started the problem to begin with. I thought you were done with me? Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that I will write a whole blog for you later. I didn't want you to think that I had forgotten you because I didn't publish your comment.

    ReplyDelete