I continue to run into people who are wrestling with their own beliefs because of someone who has treated them a certain way, because of the way certain denominations are run or because of someone else’s interpretation of truth. I find however that if we live in rejection of others, we are never really living our own truth. We are instead living in the truths (or lies) of someone else.
Now, so that we don’t get into a debate on relatives here, I’ll be clear on what I believe. Truth is not relative. It is solid, and indisputable when we have all the facts. We don’t however, have all of the facts. Therefore, humanity has an infinite number of perceptions of the truth. Even those who actively seek truth are in process and will never fully arrive.
We can, however, come to a place of acceptance in what we don’t know and resolve in what we do. We must respect those who seem lost as much as those who seem solid in their resolve. Everyone is somewhere in process.
Living in the wake of someone else’s beliefs keeps us in bondage. If you feel a knot rising in your stomach or feel tense when you think of the hurtful religious encounters of the past there may be room for freedom here. (It starts with forgiving them for their ignorance.)
I can give you pages and pages of stories about how I’ve been mistreated by church people. I can tell you how I’ve been brought into questioning, charged guilty without proof, scolded for not knowing, broken by their words because they couldn’t understand that I was already broken.
I can also give you countless stories about being bullied by school kids, mishandled by coaches, and violated by people who should have kept me safe. None of those people did those things in the name of a belief system but I guarantee they were reacting to something they believed. No one acts in a complete vacancy of thought. We live in a broken world. Period. It was broken when we were born, it continues to break and will not ever be the mended utopia many dream of.
Knowing this, we must consider if we believe we can heal, if we believe we can mend, and if we accept that our actions affect those around us.
My pursuit of the truth and of freedom can never be molded by the unhealthy people around me. It has to be sculpted by the healthy encounters, the confirmations of soul healing endeavors and deep revelations of truth that no one can take away from me. I’d also argue that my pursuit of truth must be rooted in love of truth, not in hate of those who don’t know the truth.
If I don’t have any encounters, confirmations or revelations than I probably am not paying attention or I’m not seeking truth. There are so many living life willy nilly with no true pursuit at all. People I love are wasting away, getting high every day they can, or disappearing into their video games and tv shows, living small lives so they can afford to be lazy, not investing in anyone or anything but a good time.
To what end, I ask? I suppose some would argue that this lifestyle is freedom. Freedom from care. From a distance, this appears to be true. But up close there is a lot of buried pain and ripples of disappointment. There is nothing freeing in burying the pain. It only festers and grows. Ignoring a soul wound does not encourage it to heal.
So let’s wrestle with our beliefs. But let’s do it to the pursuit of truth and freedom, loving those who are lost. They, like us, are in process too.
Freedom is indeed, loving who you are and where you are now as much as who you want to become. So as we begin to extend grace to the broken around us let us not withhold the same grace from ourselves. There is no arrival.
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