Indignation or Incredulation

Honestly incredulation is not a word, I just made it up. Incredulation is that look you get from others when for whatever reason or another someone is simply aghast at the thought that you don’t agree with something. I get that a lot.

For instance, I grew up in the Bay Area of California. For a time we lived in Southern California but for the most part we stayed in Northern. It is quite beautiful actually, San Francisco is pretty incredible. From Golden Gate Park to the Golden Gate bridge the greenery is amazing. The further north you go the more beautiful it gets. Once you hit the Russian River, it is golden from there.

I love it, everybody knows that about me. You would too if you would open your mind up and take a drive up the coast of California. Just wow. It is my home, it is where my heart is and it is where I want to move back to. I am sorry but for all the beauty I do find in Colorado it does not hold a candle to California to me. My dislike of Colorado is not hidden from anyone and that brings me to the subject.

I get reamed often when I say I prefer California. I get the wide eyed stare as the Colorado lover stares and tries to take in the fact that I just disagreed with the whole God’s country thing people have about Colorado. Then after a stammer or two the barrage of questions……How could you NOT adore Colorado? Are you crazy? ( yes, but that isn’t the point ) Then the generalized statement about the economy, the smog, the politics yada yada yada. It is like I just said I love a rapist.

Isn’t that what we christians do to each other though when someone does not love what we love the way that we love it? We judge others by what we hold valuable and to some extent what they hold valuable using that information to make a call on who they are as a person. Having been guilty of this I feel qualified to say something about it.

Why do we find it necessary to make others justify what they love, who they love and why they love it? Why does it matter if I hate Colorado? Or what if I don’t agree with a teaching or a pastor or a church? Unless I am degrading a particular thing I am doing nothing wrong by having a different opinion.

We act as if we have cornered the market on who God is. At this time let me be clear about my beliefs. I believe everything in the scriptures is truth. I am a christian ( i don’t love that label but for now it serves a purpose ) I believe in God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, 3 beings in one and I believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God both fully God and fully human, that he died on the cross for my sins and rose from the dead three days later and is now transforming me into something infinitely better than I would ever be on my own. So having got that out of the way back into my tirade.

The incredulation thing usually happens when you leave a church or you say you don’t like this pastor for that reason. You may not be saying anything except that the church or denomination or ministry is just not your flavor. Nothing bad and nothing personal just a difference in opinion.

We “christians” need to take a long hard look at ourselves and how we deal with people who differ from us. The Word says we will be known by our love one for another but most of the world seems to notice us for our infighting. That is a sad thing to me.

Personally I think the only one who should get to look at anyone with incredulation is God. “WHAAATTTTT??? ARE YOU CRAZY?????YOU DON’T BELIEVE IN ME?????!! I DON’T GET IT…..WHAT IS THERE NOT TO LOVE ABOUT ME?????!!!!!” or “WHATTTTTT? YOU BELIEVE IN EVOLUTION? HOW STUPID CAN YOU BE?” Then the look of disgust, then He should be able to begin hammering us about how wrong we are.

But God doesn’t do that does He?

Curious to me that we the created seem to think we should have more to say about the Creator. Look at us taking liberties with His bigness. We are like the selfish little seven year old yelling that “our dad” is bigger than “your dad” and is going to beat you up if you don’t agree with me.

I say these things because I am guilty of doing this too.

How about if we let God be the judge of others hearts and intentions and we begin to deal with others as if they really mattered even if our opinions are different? How about if we let God be the huge God that He is and we quit trying to make Him over into our little demi-god. We the church should be mirroring God’s love and grace. It is not supposed to be the other way around. God did not make us so that He could reflect us through Him but so that we would reflect His glory through our lives, we are only the created, not the creator.

I get tired of proving myself, or at least the feeling that I need to prove or defend my heart. I hope that I have had enough of others incredualtion and indignation that I will stop doing that to others. I don’t mind being challenged in so far as it is a challenge to grow and change and be better. What I mind is the attack on my beliefs or the things I love.

I honestly do not like Colorado. I can appreciate it’s beauty and I can appreciate why others find this place to be a slice of heaven, but my heart is forever in Northern California. I hope that I can take this lesson and apply it to the lives of others. I may not love what they love but I can love them and appreciate that maybe I don’t know everything. I might not want to go to your church or listen to your favorite pastor but hopefully I can stem my own incredulation and just love you anyway.

Are You Listening……….

Are You Listening? I’ve written plenty about the poor hurt christian. And while it is important to bring things out in the light and call a spade a spade, it is equally important to have balance.

One of the churches I was hurt the worst in was really a bad church, with bad leadership. We came into the church at a time when the original pastor was leaving and a new one coming in. We were fairly confident that the church had brought in someone who was in line with what the church believed etc.. The first two years for us and our little family pretty amazing. My husband and I were in ministry, the kids were involved, I loved going to church.

Somewhere around the 2 year mark I began to feel as if I wanted to be somewhere else. Many things in the church were changing and I wasn’t sure I was comfortable with the new directions we were taking. I talked at length about it to a precious girlfriend at the time and some to my husband, I even prayed about it. My conclusion was that it was just my flesh. I didn’t like change and when things got uncomfortable it was easier just to leave. So I must be wrong about it being time to leave.

Two years after that i left that church very broken and hurt. I left questioning everything I thought I knew and believed both about myself and God.

Not very many people came out of that place unscathed by the leadership. Most of the leaders ended up in divorce as well as many in the congregation. Many of us landed at a larger church in which we all sat in the same section. It was comforting to know that i wasn’t just crazy. There the whole lot of us sat and nursed our wounds. I wondered how could this happen? How can christians be so mean?

The craziest thing about so many of my hurts is that they occurred not just because there were some pretty rotten people involved but also because I wasn’t listening to the Spirit of God. I knew that we were supposed to leave, I knew that we no longer fit, I knew that the direction that the church was going in was not correct. I knew and I stayed anyway chalking it up to my flesh.

I would love to lay all of the blame on the church, and surely as the earth is round, they were bad. But I didn’t have to be hurt by them. I didn’t have to leave wounded. I could have been one of the people who didn’t get on the plane. But I got on the plane and buckled my seat belt and then wondered why I had to be on the plane that crashed.

Sometimes God warns us so that we can prepare ourselves and sometimes God warns us so that we can avoid the oncoming train. There are things that do happen that blind side us and there is no explanation for the trauma or catastrophe, but those things are not what I am writing about. I am writing about listening.

There are many things that I can look back on and know that God was trying to get my attention and warn me that danger was ahead. But I didn’t listen. I chose often to look to my friends for advice and then rationalize why I was the one with the problem instead of trusting what God was trying to speak into my heart. What could have been different? what could have not occurred in our lives if we as a family had stopped long enough to hear? I don’t know. I don’t know if things would have turned out the same anyway. I do know however that unfortunately I have some responsibility in some of the things that have wounded me.

Kind of like when an abused woman stays in the relationship that is killing her. She reasons with herself why she is the one who is wrong. She has many on the outside yelling at her to RUN, but she doesn’t listen, she listens to the voice that tells her she is wrong.

I stayed. I ended up crying and the ones who hurt went on about their lives as if nothing had ever happened.

A lot of christians get a bad rap and they deserve it. I am no lover of “christians”. I am no lover of those who live hypocritical lives. I am no lover of christians who dress up and play church on Sunday and Wednesday and live in legalism that breeds judgement. But newsflash, christians aren’t the only ones who do that. You find it in politicians, police, teachers, cub scout leaders, Buddhism and any other group out there. But again, I am not speaking of all the other groups out there, I am specifically speaking of church and christians etc. I just wanted to make the point that the potential for hurt is everywhere and not just in the church so we should be listening regardless of what group we are hanging with.

When you hear a christian lie, when you see a christian who’s life does not line up with the Word, when you know they are doing something that is definitely not biblical and you make an excuse for them, you have just entered into your own hurt. Because whether it is through the still small voice, through the Word, or through friends God almost always gives us a warning about danger up ahead. For many of us who are hurting we have chosen to some degree to ignore those warnings and then we get mad at God for letting us go down with the plane.

Have you ever seen the movie Bruce Almighty? A totally funny and incorrect theological movie. However, I still loved it because I recognized me in the lead character Bruce. There is a scene in which Bruce is driving asking the Lord to give him a sign. A sign pops up and says “caution danger ahead”. Bruce asks God again for a sign and a truck filled with signs pulls directly in front of him, so he passes the truck and ends up wrecking his car. oops.

We are walking along a path full of pits dug by others, looking up screaming at God to show us the way, we don’t stop our forward motion, we don’t listen and we don’t pay attention to the obvious and we fall into a pit blaming God and everyone else for our broken leg.

What if we just listened? what if we just stopped our lives long enough to really scope out the road and the people ahead of us? I don’t excuse anyone’s evil and sin. I don’t EVER excuse the abuser for what they have done but if God were trying to warn me and I didn’t listen, don’t I play a part in my hurt? Why is this so important to me?

So glad you asked. Because if I don’t take responsibility in a given circumstance I can never fully heal. There will always be a little part of the wound that does not close and is open to infection. And, I am destined to blindly continue to make the same mistakes over and over again. So the cycle continues until we are broken in spirit and mind. Until hope is crushed or we become angry and bitter.

It has been hard to admit that at times the approval of others has been more important to me than listening to God and choosing perhaps a less glamorous or lonely path. It is hard to admit that I didn’t listen. It is much easier to blame others for the entire hurt. It is much easier and less confusing when I have no part in how things played out. But blaming others won’t make the wound any better, just more diseased. If I rationalize my part away in my hurt I can never fully heal.

I tend to be more cautious now, a little slower to jump into things and people, but I am o.k. with that for now. I may miss a few great experiences because of that caution but again I am o.k. with that. God is as great in my overly cautious heart as He was in my propensity to jump in a little to quick, and I figure by the time I die I will have reached the right balance. Just in time for these kind of blogs to never have to be written. LOL

check out this clip from Bruce Almight.