Today's post is inspired by something I read over on Rachel Held Evans' blog about a statement a representative of a large protestant denomination made about which sins Jesus isn't okay with, and what we should do when people commit them. I'll save my snarky comments for personal encounters with people in my community. But what occurred to me as I read the backlash on her Facebook comment feed was: "Isn't this a little like the pot calling the kettle black?"
Sure. Maybe it is. But then I started to consider what drives me to do that to others. Defensiveness. Which is a by-product of ... you guessed it, fear.
As a 6 on the Enneagram (a spiritual personality assessment tool) I know a lot about fear. Some of the delightful things about us 6's: we worry a lot, we think too much, we are afraid of being let down and betrayed, we seek security against reason. Bleh. We have good traits too (like our loyalty, and dedication, and thoroughness), but it's these less-fine qualities that came to mind today in all of this blog comment and denomination shaming madness.
In essence, when I feel afraid of loosing my stability or security (including my beliefs), particularly when I am most triggered, I get defensive and sometimes combative. Which maybe is why I recognized this trait in some of the comments I was reading from both sides of the argument today. It felt to me like fear was seeping through their hearts and out through their fingers on the keyboards -- fear of being wrong, fear of being judged by Jesus, fear of loosing, fear of letting go, fear of being changed.
It got me wondering if perhaps some of these people (like myself) are so afraid of God not loving them in the midst of their own sin. It's taken me years to get the truth from my head to my heart that the Law of the Old Testament was there to reveal how much I needed Jesus, and then Jesus came and at great sacrifice took care of it all for me (and you). And now I get to live in grace (as do you). Jesus did what I couldn't, and he's moved on. He'd rather walk with me down the path of life, letting me be transformed to look more like him over time as we talk and walk together. He knows I have stumbled, and I'll continue to stumble -- but perhaps in different ways, with less recovery time, or with much more endurance than before. But I don't experience him waiting for me to fail. I do experience him loving me just as much then as he did the moment before.
We are a grace-deprived church -- not because it's not been given by Jesus -- but because often times we're afraid it's too good to be true, and/or we have a hard time reconciling some of God's less charming actions in the Old Testament. Or perhaps the biggest reason: We haven't experienced grace for ourselves in our earth-bound relationships. When we don't have a foundation of grace experiences throughout our life, it's hard to swallow it when it's given to us and it's sure as heck hard to give what we don't have. So what if we could embrace grace together? Giving and receiving, understanding none of us got enough of it in life; and Jesus is offering us all more than we deserve. And that even when our neighbor hurts us, maybe they're just scared. What's the worst that could happen?
Talk with me...