I’ve made the mistake in the past of thinking I need to defend my Christianity when someone questions it based upon my views on social and political (or even spiritual) issues. I’ve worried that if I can’t prove that I am, in fact, a Christian and that I have a valid point of view within the realm of Christianity via some well-researched or beautifully written article or argument, then my witness will be destroyed. But, my witness is not in my hands, it’s not about me. I’m not in charge of who my light reaches or what they do with it. That light comes from the Divine living in me and is not under my authority.
It’s not within my grasp to reach or please everyone I will ever interact with or share life with. My relationship with God is not something I have to prove to anyone as if it were a college research paper. The fruits of my spiritual relationship with the Divine will be seen in my love, kindness, forgiveness, faithfulness, generosity, joy, peace, grace, mercy, worship, and service. It will be seen in the way I come to the defense, support, and care for “the least of these”. It will be seen in my daily life and interactions, in the movement of the Spirit through my life and interactions. And those are the things I should be concerned about cultivating.
My life as a child of the Most High is not something I need someone else to confirm for me. I don’t need someone else to believe it to validate it. My salvation is not up for debate. My place in heaven is not on the line here. I know who I am.
The same can be said for anyone saved and changed by the redeeming love of our Creator, living by grace and through faith.
I have weaknesses, struggles with faith, and spiritual pot holes, just like everyone else. One struggle I have is that I strive to be a peacemaker, but often end up trying to be a people-pleaser. I hate leaving a conversation where both sides continue to not see eye to eye. But I’m realizing that I can’t waste my time on making sure everybody thinks I’m a good, appropriate Christian. That energy has to be spent on being the hands and feet of Jesus.
There is far too much Kingdom work to be done for me to be wasting time or energy jumping through hoops to get a nod of approval from all parties (that I’ll never get). I should be taking direction from the Holy Spirit, not comment sections.
There’s always room to grow and room to learn, but that doesn’t mean I need to read seriously every article that crosses my line of sight or take to heart to every person who raises criticism against me (or my beliefs). Likewise, I don’t need to formulate a response to everything. I can trust God to bring to me what I need as I sit intimately with the Spirit with an open and willing heart, I don’t have to rely on my own discernment or someone else’s declarations.. There will be times to speak and times to write and times to read and times to listen and times to act and times to be still and it’s all in the Lord’s power and in the Lord’s time. Not mine. Once again, it’s not actually about me, as hard as that can be to remember.
Jesus didn’t spend the limited time he had on earth trying to win over all his critics (of which he had plenty). He spent it in ministry. Aren’t we to follow this example? I don’t want to waste any more of my resources trying to prove something with my words that I should be displaying with my actions. There are more important things than being right or winning the debate. There are people in the margins, in the audience, on the sidelines, in our homes and churches and communities and across our globe needing the tangible love and goodness that we claim to have inside and we aren’t sharing it with them when we’re arguing with one another.
You don’t have to think I’m right, you don’t have to think I’m good, and you don’t have to believe I’m a Christian. I’m relinquishing that desire, that distraction, that temptation, that idol. I’m not beyond reproach (no one is), but I’m also not susceptible or submitting to any and every criticism that comes my way.
What other people think of me is none of my business. –Wayne Dyer
I am responsible for the way I use my gifts, talents, and voice. I am not responsible for what others think of me when I do.