This one has been bouncing around in my head and my heart for the past week or so. I have had a hard time figuring out how to get it on paper without sounding just as graceless as those who got the post brewing did/do. So, I waited. I waited and I thought and I waited some more. And God did the thing He often does when I am struggling with a thing that involves other believers – He showed me how we are the same – how I can choose different – how I can love better – how I can be a do-er, not a whiner. Nobody likes a whiner.
I read two blog posts a few weeks ago – one in response to another. The first was an honest portrayal of her beliefs, a desperate cry for us all to be more loving, and admittedly, a shakily communicated belief about many facets of scripture. The second was a calculated response to the first post, a portrayal of her beliefs as they conflicted with the first writer, an attempt to extend her kindness and understanding, and also evidence that she knows little about the first writer, her background, or her heart.
I left both articles feeling frustrated – where one felt too open-ended, the other felt haughty and judgmental. Somehow, though, I found myself siding with the first author when, quite frankly, I disagreed with both of their deliveries equally.
Thus began the bouncing around situation. Why? What is this about in my own heart?
Fast forward a week or so when I shared something that felt very honest and vulnerable from my own perspective. The response of a dear friend to those words was the sort of thing that is teasing in nature but usually reveals a deeper annoyance she has with you. I haven’t been able to shake the sting of her words since she spoke them. This morning as I waited for my coffee to brew, I mulled through them again – wondered what exactly she meant, and whether she was a butt-face or I was a baby. Or both. I asked God what He thought about it, and the response was swift and clear.
- This is issue is between you and me. The reason it stung is because it’s a thing that you haven’t surrendered to me. Leave her out of it and talk to me about it.
- What was her heart? Just as what you shared felt honest and vulnerable to you, so also did how she responded feel honest and vulnerable to her. You know she loves you. Let that be enough.
- Leave room for ugly. This is grace, people. This is loving each other deeply. Leave room for grace. Make no assumptions. Confront where confrontations are necessary but be very, VERY careful about how you define necessary. And if you must confront – ask questions, don’t make accusations.
This is where I felt the rub on those first two bloggers. I felt like the first was being attacked – and by some of the things she said, a little like I was being attacked – so my knee-jerk was to lead an attack upon her post in my head that night. I did not consider her heart – only her delivery – and I did not leave room for ugly. I still don’t agree with everything that she said or how she said it, but I can rest the knowledge that THAT issue is between God and herself. I need not take it into my own hands, for that is an ugly place, indeed.