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Check Yes or No

I have a problem. I have serious legalistic urges and can spend an insanely large amount of time worrying about whom to surround myself with in the social media realm (it happens in real life too, just not as often).

Everybody has core values and beliefs. Unfortunately, most of mine are highly unpopular right now. This means I encounter more and more people who live lifestyles with which I disagree. (Sorry tolerant crowd. I know my narrow-mindedness makes you want to enforce your views on me. Wait. Isn’t that… Nevermind.) So when considering new people to make “friends” with over the world-wide-web, I’ve allowed their imaginary question below to be my guide:

I’ve mistakenly avoided people altogether because I thought being their “friend” would mean I was giving my stamp of approval for every choice I disagree with. And I would rather run away and bury my head in the sand than do that.

Recently, an acquaintance of mine and I were talking. I asked about our mutual acquaintance, who I was 99.9% sure was her lesbian partner. I’ve danced around the truth for years, hoping to avoid the topic. My acquaintance’s eye’s filled with tears as she verbalized what I long feared: she was, in fact, in a homosexual lifestyle. She and her partner had broken up, leaving her devastated.

I mentally hyperventilated. My legalistic urges told me to chuck a Bible at her and run. To do anything less would be to approve of her choices, right?

But I couldn’t get past the heartbroken woman in front of me. She wasn’t asking if I approved. Her unspoken query was this:

I do care. I mentally punched legalism in the face and hugged my acquaintance as she cried. It felt awkward and unnatural. It feels the same way every time I hit the friend request or follow button for other people whose choices I don’t agree with. But at least I have a new question as my guide.

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  1. Bill Trucano

    Friends love friends because of agape, not philio, not storge, not eros. That’s the kind of friend you are, a REAL friend.

  2. Wil Johnson

    Yes Beth, I do approve of your choices and furthermore, I do care about you. I love you just as much now as I did when you climbed all over me as a little tot.

    • beth

      Love you too Mr. Will

  3. Ben White

    yes & yes. I dont approve of my own choices so i cant judge yours. Love you cuz

    • beth

      Love you back cuz

  4. Carolyn Trucano

    We all tend to have legalistic urges (right vs. wrong). When we realize that’s what is staring us in the face, we have to ask ourselves the question that’s been asked among Christians for the last 150 years (at least) – “What would Christ want me to do?” You passed the test with a hug. xoxo

  5. Terri Cox

    Thank you for this, Beth. I have faced this situation many times lately, as well. It is not easy, but I can’t walk away from the love I know I need to show these people–as opposed to my judgement, which isn’t mine to give, anyway. The support and love, however, is indeed mine to offer. I am often surprised by how many of these friends carry important and often painful questions within them about God and their relationship with Him. Sometimes we do go there in our conversations. Sometimes I ask them some hard questions that I have, too. I am learning. I look to Jesus as my example to follow. I look to the Bible for its incredible wisdom. My friends almost always want to hear and talk about what I am reading and learning–even if it’s just to hear it and then disagree. But I am learning what is God’s work and what is mine, I pray.

    • beth

      Thanks for sharing Terri

  6. Joe

    Our job is not to judge, but to show people God’s love.

  7. I’m late getting over here to read your post and respond, but I’m so happy I did. A) I love what you said about mentally punching legalism in the face. B) I think that’s a spot so many people with similar beliefs find themselves in…and I love your response to it. A hug. Showing you care. I’m in a somewhat similar situation right now with a loved one…I’ve been upset about choices, but I feel like God is saying, “Now is the time to actively love, Melissa. He doesn’t need to know whether you approve or disapprove. He needs to know you love him.”

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