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Sunday, 2 March 2008

And TRUTH shall set you free

I think I can safely say that I have spent my whole life living a willingness to share very deeply and openly with anyone and everyone. Why is that?

Afterall, there is incredible risk in being misunderstood and judged.

There is incredible risk in being written off as flaky.

There is incredible risk in someone assuming there is an ulterior motive at play.

And while these risks can leave me scared enough to just keep my mouth shut, I continue to believe that in scattering the seeds of truth, even if only my own, with faith there can be growth in places I didn’t know to anticipate.

Someone asked me once, “what do you benefit in sharing your intimate life details with others?”

Benefit? If I did it strictly for my own sake, what would be the benefit considering the risks I mentioned above? When I share, it is with the deepest HOPE that others will not feel alone. It is with the deepest HOPE that others will feel invited to open up and shed their burdens that prevent their own growth. It is with the deepest HOPE that someone will recognize that I risked my heart in trust… and that must make them special. And with the deepest HOPE that in sharing, they will allow me (and others) to LOVE them.

I suppose there is a part of me that believes that if I confess my sins openly, that I am accepting accountability. It’s one thing to confess to God who is already all-knowing. I am not telling Him something He doesn’t already know. I never worry about being misunderstood by Him because I know He journeyed in my heart, trying to guide me despite my ignorance while making mistakes. I can recount my steps with Him and identify where I chose not to listen. I know that while there is fair judgment, there is always unconditional love.

But it’s so scary when you share your mistakes with others who do not know what you contemplated in your mind before choosing wrongly. All you are showing them is the end result of your mistake and that can leave many to believe nothing had been learned at all, or that heartlessness is prevalent in my heart… and that’s what makes me ache in taking the risks I do.

But without fail, every time I have risked, someone has approached me and shared deeply in return. Is it not worth the risk, then, that among a hundred people with whom I share, ninety-nine may judge me and write me off while only one’s heart may be moved to shed their own burdens and be freed?

I have just opened my bible for guidance and lo and behold I came across the parable in Matthew 18 about the lost sheep. I am struck by the same choice in numbers that I used above:
“What do you think a man does who has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost? He will leave the other ninety-nine grazing on the hillside and go and look for the lost sheep. When he finds it, I tell you, he feels far happier over this one sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not get lost. In just the same way your Father in heaven does not want any of these little ones to be lost.”

Does this not affirm taking that risk? And earlier on, I came across:
“I assure you that unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the Kingdom of heaven. The greatest in the Kingdom of heaven is the one who humbles himself and becomes like this child. And whoever welcomes in my name one such child as this, welcomes me.”

I am most humbled when I share openly. Should not my brethren rejoice rather than take offence or become uncomfortable? Should not my brethren welcome me in my vulnerability rather than judge? But if my sharing makes anyone uncomfortable, my HOPE again is that their boundaries be challenged… challenged so as to either welcome growth in their existing faith or else solidify what is already there. Perhaps making others uncomfortable is not so bad afterall? Not everyone is ready to hear or welcome truth… but truth does not live in convenience. Truth always challenges. How else could Jesus use the simplest sentence of truth yet cause incredible uproar?

So I will continue to be who I am and be fearless in my prayer and hope that TRUTH will challenge others… yet through that challenge, they will discover freedom.

Perhaps it is similar to my “bad dancer” theory. Anytime I have been to a social or dance of some sort and the dance floor is empty, I gather up my courage and go on the dance floor and dance like an idiot. Why? Others will laugh and think I’m a loser! But you know what? Within five minutes, the dance floor is full. I am guessing that some believe “hmm, no matter how badly I dance, I won’t look as bad as that poor girl.”

Maybe if I confess and share openly, others will feel they can, too.

“and they would turn to me, says God, and I would heal them.”

Tell me, then... is that not worth the risk?


Cindy N. said...

Welcome back, Rita; I've missed you... and your honest risk-taking!
I think of your family often.
xo ~ Cindy

Anonymous said...

It's good to hear your heart. Thanks for the challenge! Hope all is well with you guys.

Your cousin, Cindy said...

There is never any harm in being authentic! Good for you!

Anonymous said...

Rita, there is a saying somewhere that I can't remember the words to that always reminds me of you. The gist of it is that "I have come to know God because I know you" basically, that you live your life in such a way you make me believe that good people and good things are possible.

You are beautiful Rita. Thank you for taking those risks.