This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man. (Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 3)
I had coffee with my dad today. We had a great discussion about politics, issues we’re facing and what it means to be a Christian. We talked about people showing up for things and then dropping out. I feel like people get pressured into joining a group, either overtly or simply by their peers. Then they can’t make good on their commitment.
“We need to better outline what it means to be a Christian,” I said. “We also need to emphasis just how much freedom there actually is. So many aspects of life God simply doesn’t care about.”
Like where we park. What we wear (within reason: no tube tops). What we drive. What we eat. How much or when we sleep. I don’t even think God cares much about our political leanings. Becoming a Christian isn’t like entering a police state. God created each of us as unique individuals. We have gifts and abilities to contribute in this world. Tamping it all down to be like some preset, sanitized standard amounts to extreme disrespect if not dishonesty towards our creator, in my eyes.
All of the confusion can be boiled down into one statement: if your heart isn’t in it, you won’t finish. Period. You will find or make up an excuse. Or you will stay home. You will ignore phone calls, text, emails, direct questions. Sure, it’s passive-aggressive. You make a decision by not making one. You avoid confrontation yet still manage to wiggle out of obligations. It’s a classic and it’s easy. If by some superhuman willpower you do finish, you might find yourself filled with strange rage and resentment. Neither benefit anyone.
Ruby and I discussed the now-growing plant this morning.
“I think this time it will be a palm tree. I bet I’m right,” she said, full of confidence in her decision.
“Ruby girl, it doesn’t work that way. The plant may die off for a season to rest and recover, but it doesn’t come back as something else. It will be an Amaryllis again, same as it was. Remember the big red blossoms? It will sprout up and bloom again.”
The plant had no choice but to follow the patter of its DNA. Neither do you. You are who the Lord made – and “it was good”! Though the seasons of our life ebb and flow, the essence of your personality remains. New haircut and new clothes only change the outside. However, if Jesus asks to work on you, let Him. He’s the one who can write up a change order. He makes all things new.
During this journey of our lives, saying no to one thing means you’re saying yes to something else. As for me, I’d rather get a straight answer. Proverbs 24:26 says: An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips. Please don’t dance around the response. Hit me with your forthright reply. I can take it.