Have you ever been called a name? Did you actually LIKE any of your nicknames? When I was a teenager, I purposefully wallowed in my Dad's lap, completely preventing him from being comfortable when he was watching his show. In exasperation, he finally yelled, "Get off me, you MOOSE!" The name stuck. For some reason, I just loved that he called me a moose. It fit, too. To this day, I'm rather clumsy and ungraceful.
The word Christian was originally meant as an insult to believers. The phrase meant "little Christ", and it was to be a mockery. Of course, followers of The Way picked up on it, and decided to adopt it themselves, much as early Americans would adopt the "Yankee Doodle" song, centuries later.
I love being a Christian. I love the meaning of the word. The thing is, I am AWFUL at being a little Christ. Ask me about my life, and I can give you countless instances of where I failed to radiate the love and joy of Christ, or cowered behind an untrue, "agreeable" version of Jesus.... a Jesus better suited to the liberal masses. A Jesus who isn't Jesus at all, but a false idol; a caricature of the true, intensely loving and intensely zealous Jesus who was Truth and Love all at once.
When I want to take a stand for Truth, I slaughter the masses with my cold, impersonal, and unloving remarks, and when I want to model love, I stand idly by while others destroy Truth. It's a terrible fight: how do I stand for truth in love, and how do I love in truth?
I recently had the chance to do the right thing. Actually, I had several. A friend of mine was mentioning another friend of mine (in a somewhat negative way), and I COULD have kept my mouth shut. I could have ignored what he was saying, and chosen to stay out of it. After all, it didn't really have anything to do with me. Instead, I chose to tell him something that only helped reinforce his poor opinion of my other friend. See, this other friend had done something that hurt me. I SHOULD have gone to her and said, "Hey, this hurt my feelings," but instead I was quiet about it. I spoke to her about it, but I didn't tell her the truth of how it made me feel. I was worried she'd react negatively to me, and that she'd be angry at me, so I stayed out of it. (You heard right: I stayed out of it when I should have said something, and I got involved when I should have stayed out of it.)
I KNEW I did the wrong thing. I knew immediately that I should not have opened my mouth and said things about my friend. In fact, I was awakened at night by this nagging feeling that I'd made a terrible mistake and that I needed to apologize to the man I told for getting involved. After all, the Bible says we are to be peacemakers. What I said created more strife, more tension... not more peace. Yet I couldn't call him at 12 am... so I waited. And when I waited, I forgot. There was so much going on... so much filling my days, that I didn't think to apologize... until night, again, when it would be too late. This went on for almost a week, and I finally saw my friend again. I was going to apologize to him, but I decided to do some things first. Besides, he looked busy.
By the time I saw my friend again, he had talked to the woman I'd told him about, and she left. I don't think I'll ever see her again. There were a lot of things that went into their parting, but I can't help but feel responsible for it all. God tried to give me ways out of it... the guilt I'm feeling right now. But I was always too busy, too forgetful... it was always too late and someone was too busy. I have asked God to forgive me for my stupid mistake... but I'm going to miss my other friends.
I know it's too late now, but I think I'm going to apologize to my guy friend tomorrow. It won't change anything, but at least I'll have finally said what I should have said weeks ago.
I need to strive to be more of a Christian. I need to find that line... the line between truth and love. I need to learn to listen to that still, small voice inside of me, telling me to be a peacemaker, and not to open my mouth every time I'm inclined to do so. I'm going to get better at this: I have to. That's why I'm putting it out there right now... because I need to be held accountable. I need to remember the times when I fall short so I can be less likely to make those mistakes again. And also... writing about it seems to heal the pain a little, as if perhaps someday, my friend will see this post and know that I am sorry for the dreams of hers that were crushed that day.
Have you ever felt like you missed the mark in your walk with God? Have you ever known you should do something, but you didn't? Why didn't you? How did you handle it? Leave a comment and let me know.