Accepting Others’ Views

“Go and learn what this means: I desire mercy and not sacrifice.  For I didn’t come to call the righteous, but sinners.”- Matthew 9:13

I haven’t written a blog in a long time.  Grad school has been more demanding than I anticipated, especially with a separate course on top of it.  I’m in my third term and trying to fit blogging back into my life, but I can’t promise a steady blog.  I’ve been thinking a lot this week and for this particular post, for the past month and I just needed to write today.

I’ve had this on my heart for wees.  It’s been on my heart because I messed up so bad and I can’t seem to fix it…and I want to.  I’m mad at myself for messing this one up…I feel like I failed a test and I want a retake.

I attend a non-denominational church, but we follow the Restoration Movement.  In essentials, like salvation issues, we have unity and in non-essentials we respect others’ views.  The idea is to show love always; our mission statement follows the great commandment and commission, Love God, Love Others, Serve.  I failed at it all.

Someone I considered close to me even though we haven’t known each other long, told me something that was a non-essential, but it didn’t fit with my views.  It was more than this being that simple though.  There was some emotional sore spots stroked in it for me.  Did I respond with love and understanding?  No.  I had an emotional tantrum.  Now granted, most of the tantrum was from the sore spots, but it took me days to even consider his views on the non-essential.  I’m still examining it, but had decided his view had merit and was probably as valid as mine.  Listening to him and having a conversation rather than trying to prove my point would have been far more helpful.  Even though I tried to make his understand I think his view had some merits and I’m open to hearing him out now, he no longer hears me.

As many times as I have had this happen to me over my paranormal experiences you’d think I’d be more apt to listen…I like to think I would have if he had done it in a different way, but I’m still ashamed of my behavior.

I realized I need to be more meek.  Meekness isn’t a passive act; it is simply the behavior of properly valuing oneself so you can properly value others.  I valued myself more than the other person in this case.  It’s hard to love someone the way Christ calls us to love everyone when you don’t value them and you overvalue yourself.  And as the verse at the beginning of the devotion says, I need to work on being merciful which is the behavior of offering relational generosity.  In all fairness, I’m usually good at this.  I’ve hung out with wiccans, gay guys, lesbians, strippers, and other marginalized groups and been fine…I’m a sinner too.  But when something someone says hits me emotionally I wish I showed more mercy so I could understand them.

Thinking of this situation, I thought of Matthew.  He was a tax collector and no one liked him or was standing in line to be his friend.  He was considered a sinner for just doing his job.  Jesus looked beyond all that and made him an Apostle.  Honestly, we never see Jesus criticize Matthew for his occupation either.  Maybe what we considered sinful wasn’t when done properly.  I’m sure many tax collectors back them took advantage of their positions, but maybe Matthew wasn’t one of them.  Even if he was a sinner, Jesus would have shown love.  I wish I had done the same.  I hope I get a retake.

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