I have been asked multiple times. Sometimes by the same person. As if I’m not heard or listened to the first time.
Because there MUST be ANOTHER reason for my faith in Christ.
There MUST be ANOTHER reason why I don’t drink alcohol. (Cause it’s the not drinking alcohol they have an issue with most of the time)
“It was your parents,” they’ll say. “They made you think this way.”
I choke on the tickle in my throat. Stopping myself from laughing at them.
Thinking, “Oh, we’re going to go THERE, aren’t we?”
You see, I don’t have the desire to laugh because I want to be rude. Quite the contrary, I want to laugh because of the misconception. Because of the ignorance, which most of the world shares.
But let me add, IT IS UNDERSTANDABLE.
There are a lot of Christians who are only by the book. No validity in their faith. No true foundation in Christ. It’s sad yes, but it’s the truth.
They think I’m like everyone else they know.
So I hold the laugh back because they don’t know me. If they followed my footsteps, they would see how silly, and ridiculous, that question is to me.
And I try to swallow the bubbling anger rising in my chest because I know it isn’t meant to be an attack.
But when someone says my relationship with Christ, my choices, are because of someone else, it’s an attack against my self-will. An attack of not listening. Judging me, trying to assume, and form the kind of person he/she thinks I am.
What isn’t felt by them, asking the question, is the pain of all the experiences Christ has done in my life. Experiences they didn’t ask about. Reasons why I am close to Christ, God, and the Holy Spirit.
Because unlike what they think.
Christ is my answer.
God is my reason.
And the Holy Spirit is my cause.
“Hmm, sure,” I agree, “my parents took me to church. My mom had me in Bible Quizzing from 1st grade to 6th grade, which I hated at times, to be honest.”
Their response is in their nodding of heads. “Exactly,” they jump to conclusions.
Holding out my hand, “But then, what about when I was nine and had eczema. I chose to look at Christ when soaking my feet in water burned, and made me cry. If He could go to the cross, surely I could endure this pain. I LOOKED TO HIM. No one told me to have that mindset.”
“You know, I was four when I gave my life to Christ. Four. And not one adult led me. Did you know that? I was by my swing set in the summer, and I asked Christ into my life, by myself.”
“Or what about when I was twelve, I had a threat at school and felt completely hopeless. I felt no man, no mortal, could help me. It wasn’t enough. So I turned to Christ and begged Him for reassurance. I told Him I would be stubborn like Jacob, wrestle with my faith, till God answered me. And He did.”
They kinda start listening.
“When I was 13, I wanted that same reassurance He gave me when I begged Him that night. So I willingly chose to talk to Him daily, invite Him in my life. I read scriptures. Thankful for the Bible Quizzing because it increased my knowledge and guided me. I asked God to be my Teacher because man was not enough.
It led me to question adults about faith, and become exceedingly active in Bible Study discussion. Most adults didn’t know what to tell me. So no, I didn’t have adults guiding me. Only God.”
I look at them straight in the eyes.
“Tell me, how was THAT my parents? How was all of THAT not my FREE WILL?”
They fold their hands together.
“Okay,” they seemingly agree, “but you should still drink…”
I can feel the throbbing of my headache coming.
It’s like hitting a brick wall.
For the record, what is my self-will choice, is my self-will choice. I don’t reinenforce what I believe around others. Not once. You can ask them all, even the ones who try to peer pressure me. (Who, aside from the questioning, are actually good friends)
But what I’d like?
I’d like the same understanding, and the WILLINGNESS to listen to what I am saying.
Maybe then, they would truly hear me out. Stop questioning me because I don’t question them.
But Christ, lovingly, puts His hand on my shoulder, and says,
Be My example.
Even if they don’t understand, that doesn’t matter.
You need to understand them.”
And so, I listen to my Teacher. And I work on being blameless, and not bitter.
I’m a work in process by the hand of the Potter. He loves me when I don’t understand Him, and He’s teaching me how to love when others don’t understand me.
~T. R. Noble
(All Images Used Are From Pexels)