In this weeks blog, names have been changed to protect the innocent. Any connection to real situations is completely coincidental.
A few weeks ago, at our grow group there was only a few of us and we ended up having fun discussion about a conflict I’m having with someone in my personal life, I will call them Bob. This is a situation I have been struggling with for a while. Bob and I have had several interactions which always end up in a big conflict these happen on a regular basis. As the grow group talked it the group leader Carol suggested we read Romans 2:1-5.
2 You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. 2 Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. 3 So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? 4 Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?
5 But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed.
As we read this, I was feeling the guilt and shame about how I have handled the situation. Although, I feel like I have done everything I can to be kind and look the other way. Carol didn’t shame me at all. She didn’t tell me I needed to be kinder and do more. She told me they know I am a good and kind person and they know I am trying to do God’s will in this situation. As we read, I thought this was going to be turned on me when in all reality, the whole point the Carol was making was that God is in control and he will take care of things. The group members all validated me and told me to just keep doing what God wants me to do. And in the end God would take care of everything.
It was in this brief moment I realized the clutch the Mormon belief system still has on me at times. I realized it’s all about perspective and how you look at things. It made me stop and think about how much my thinking has changed and wonder about what I am still looking at from my Mormon lenses and not from my Christian view.
In Mormonism, people often struggle with, have I done enough. That is because it is a works based faith where your eternal salvation is based solely on what you have done in this life. So, it is no wonder when I read the above passage, I took on the perspective that I wasn’t doing enough, I needed to do better and make the situation better. This was very frustrating for me because, although, there are things I could probably improve on or do better, the conflicts between Bob and I, isn’t going to change because, I am not the problem. As we discussed the passage, Carol and the grow group members confirmed to me what I felt like God had been telling me all along. It also confirmed what many other people who know of, and are involved in, the situation between Bob and I have told me. Bob is the problem. Bob isn’t going to change. And yet I struggle with, am I doing enough?
It is so hard to change things that have been ingrained since childhood. But just because it is something you have been told or taught doesn’t mean that it is truth. It’s all about perspective and how you look at things.
As I have grown in my new life, from the time I became a Christian until now, I have learned so much about myself. I have learned a lot about how I look at things and look at the world. As a social worker, I have learned a lot about people and perspective and that we are all products of our environment. The hardest part of all of this is realizing that just because we believe something doesn’t mean that it is true. And often, even if you can prove to someone something is true based on fact and credible evidence, most often, people will stick to their belief system because it is comfortable and what they know. Truth, becomes unimportant. Truth becomes what they believe.
I have been a Christian for 16 years. I have done a lot of studying of the Bible and a lot of research to come to my belief system. To me there is no doubt that God is real! I can see it in everything. Just last weekend one of my daughters talked to me about laminin an important protein in our cells that are shaped like a cross. Coincidence or perspective? You can go on Google earth and see places in the Bible where Jesus walked and taught. You can go to Israel and physically walk where Jesus walked. Many of the places talked about in the Bible are still in existence today. Lakes, rivers, towns, cities, they are all tangible, real places that you can see and visit. There are historical records that refer to Jesus. Historical records outside of the Bible. Verifiable, historical figures that have referred to Jesus. There is a higher chance that we are created beings over being people that have evolved. To me, that is all enough to be credible evidence to truth. And yet, still, it all comes down to perspective.
As I have walked away from Mormonism and learned more and more things, I have realized there is no evidence of truth. There is no historical evidence. There is no document-able proof to show that what Joseph Smith said and what is written in the Book of Mormon is true. Nothing! In my view this is reason enough to believe that it isn’t true but for many they aren’t willing to consider a different perspective or walk away from their belief system. Their perspective is, that it’s true, and there is no reason to take a step back and look at it from a different angle.
The hard thing is, if you are willing to look at something from a different perspective, how can you know truth? In the video, I post a few weeks ago, called Unveiling Grace about the formation for the Adam’s Road Band. Micah talked about being challenged to read the Bible with the eyes of a child. It’s a different perspective. If you can’t challenge your perspective how can you know what you really believe and how can you grow.
I’m so grateful that God allowed that interaction with the few of us that were able to be at grow group. It was one of those moments where I just stopped and said in my head “Thank you God! I know this whole night was planned by You!” It was one of those moments where my perspective was challenged, my truth was confirmed, and growth happened! Those moments are the best moments.
I’m just a small town girl… living in a world filled with perspective not truth.