My kids and I watched 'The Shunning' today. It's a story of an Amish girl who is shunned by her community for the offense of 'drifting away' from her community's beliefs. Watching the main character endure the rejection of her friends and family was heartbreaking. Imagine, for nothing more than following your heart, the people who are suppose to love and support you turning away. Imagine, knowing that the rules your community lives by are not in accordance with GOD's will for HIS children, and having to chose between what you know is right, and losing that connection we all need so desperately.
I think sometimes we get so convinced of something, that we can't see past it. We can't see the big picture for that big ugly tree that is growing in front of our eyes. We can't see that we are so focused on something that isn't even clear, that we are shutting out what HE really wants us to learn. I have some dear friends that are in deep disagreement that GOD would call a woman to serve HIM in HIS church, as pastor or elder. They believe that women who do this are disobeying HIM and HIS word. I disagree. I think that that is what has been passed down for generations, rooted in the society of the Bible, where women were not educated or respected. I think it is different now. JESUS came to show us a new way, to show us that GOD isn't about rules and restrictions. HE doesn't want us to quibble over the little things, HE doesn't want us to be divided by these silly beliefs that don't do anything to honor HIM. HE wants us to see HIS love, and pass it on. HE wants us to go and make disciples, to teach others of HIS love and grace. HE wants us to live for HIM and in HIM. And if we are doing that, how can that be wrong?
It seems to me that everything is either of GOD or of the devil. If someone feels called to follow GOD, to give everything to obey HIM, how can that not be of HIM? How can leading others in the faith, teaching others of HIS love, helping others grow closer to HIM, how can that be something of the devil? It isn't!!! It has to be of HIM! I can't imagine that GOD wouldn't be smiling when HE sees one of HIS children leading another to HIM, helping that amazing relationship to grow. I can't believe it would matter one bit whether the 'leader' were male or female, whether they had different skin color, or chose a lifestyle that wasn't according to HIS will. Certainly HE has rules HE has given us... and for good reason. HE calls us to be a people set apart, to be in the world but not of the world. But those rules are there to remind us that HE has a plan for us, a beautiful, amazing, eternal plan. Not to make us feel guilty, or condemned, or less than anything but HIS. The Bible says that the only thing we have to do to have eternal life with HIM in Heaven is to accept JESUS as Savior. That's it. Not wear certain clothes, or love certain people. Not reject someone's call... whether we agree that it is a call or not. Not listen to certain songs, or read certain books, or avoid certain businesses based on the beliefs of the owners. Those things are something we need to consider as we make our way as Christians, but not because it makes us more acceptable to HIM. We do those things because our actions honor or dishonor HIM. Our choices reflect our beliefs and our words reflect our characters. I believe HE wants us to stand by our beliefs. Who are we as Christians if we don't? But if we stand by them to the extent that we condemn someone just because they don't agree with us... what does that show the world about Christians? More importantly, what does it show the world about CHRIST???
LORD in Your mercy, hear this my prayer...
I pray LORD, that no one would ever feel 'shunned' by my actions, my words or my beliefs. I pray that I will always speak Your Truth in love, so that others will know You through my life. I pray that You will give me discernment, and wisdom, and clarity in the decisions that I have to make in my life. Please guide my way, light my path, and make clear to me what Your will is for my life. In JESUS' name I pray. Amen