Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Put Away the Gavel

I was thinking the other day (while in church) that I hadn't heard a sermon on judging people for a while. It was one of those random thoughts I get quite frequently which cause me to pause for a moment and consider the subject.

A few weeks ago I had a friend tell me that they were turned off by Christianity, because the last time they went to a church service the preacher declared that gays and drunks would be the first ones to go to hell. My friend had several friends that are homosexual and took it personally that the preacher was condemning her friends to hell.

Just to clarify: I am not saying the preacher was wrong. I am saying that he went about it the wrong way. What I mean is, the Bible preaches against homosexuality and drunkenness. Nowhere, however, does it say that such offenders will be automatically sent to hell. We are all sinners, and ALL sin is EQUAL in God's eyes. I am just as guilty as any alcoholic, druggie, prostitute, or gay. And I try not to forget that, because I could just as easily be in any one of those positions. However, because of my parents, my family, my friends, my choices, and most of all my God, I am not. I know why. I'm not strong enough. I couldn't handle being any one of those people, and God knows it. There are people who can go through such things, and come out stronger in their faith - should they become Christians. I cannot claim to have the capacity to be one of those people. I have gone through much less and wanted to give up living just to escape the pain.

It infuriates me when people judge someone by the way they look or speak. I am not presumptuous enough to say that I don't do the same thing; it makes me angry with myself when I do. You cannot assume you know a person by just looking at them and making your own assessment. That is what we do when we make an assumption of someone without bothering to talk to them or give them the benefit of the doubt. No one can immediately tell if someone is gay just by looking at them. I do understand that some people are flamboyant and have every intention of you knowing what they're about with one glance. But most are not, and we should respect them enough to stay out of their business until invited.

Nevertheless, this judging thing does not stop with first impressions. We have no right to condemn anyone for what they may or may not have done. We are not judges of God; God is the one and only judge. Do you not think you will be judged yourself for handing down convictions that were never yours to give? No one but God is worthy of condemning sinners, for He alone is sinless.

"How can you say to your brother, 'Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,' when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye." - Luke 6:42

1 Corinthians 6:1-6
1If any of you has a dispute with another, dare he take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the saints? 2Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? 3Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life! 4Therefore, if you have disputes about such matters, appoint as judges even men of little account in the church! 5I say this to shame you. Is it possible that there is nobody among you wise enough to judge a dispute between believers? 6But instead, one brother goes to law against another—and this in front of unbelievers!

I know I probably sound quite self-righteous with this tirade, but I felt it needed to be addressed. I admit that I can be self-righteous at times. It is a minor fault out of my many.

We hear it in movies all the time, and it sounds corny but is quite true: "We're not that different, you and me." It goes back to the Golden Rule, "Treat others as you would like to be treated." Don't judge others when you would hate to be judged yourself.

We ALL fall short.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Serious Randomness

My winning percentage in Solitaire sucks. Seriously. I win maybe once every seven games or so. I wish I could blame the computer; maybe I can. I don't know how much of winning in Solitaire is dependent upon my skill. Probably most of it, and I'm just trying to delude myself into feeling better about my constant losing streak.

I loathe dial-up internet. And this computer is pathetically old and therefore slow.

I'm real excited about leaving for Oregon. I'm ready for a break, ready to have an awesome time snowboarding and just hanging out with nothing else to do. That's a great feeling, you know? Spending time with friends with unlimited availability - for a short time, at least. The more I think about it, the more six days sounds like not enough time. However, I know it's a good while, and it will be amazing.

I hate feeling corny. But I think corny stuff ALL THE TIME. And say it almost as frequently as I think it. Well, maybe not. I blame my extensive reading and movie watching. And major romantic tendencies. I laugh at myself all the time for being melodramatic and cheesy. I let it go more in my poetry. That's a place where at some point it's almost necessary to cross the line of normal conversation and convention. There's a freedom in that. I also let myself get a little cheesy in my blogs, but there is a boundary I kind of set up.

I'm still working on boundaries. Like my own. The other night I was writing in a journal, and I had a kind of picture in my head of these walls I had put up around my heart. And I thought that maybe I somehow locked myself out. I got so busy trying to protect myself, be who I thought I needed to be, that I totally got turned around and walked out on myself. But...maybe God is still there. Maybe He has to let me back in. That's sort of strange to think: The roles are reversed. Instead of God knocking on my heart to let Him in, I'm knocking on my OWN heart - waiting to understand who I am. At one point I thought I had a handle on it. I did. But it got lost in being thrown away, being tossed aside. I questioned so much of myself that I seemed to have wound up with seeing nothing at all, nothing worth saving.

I feel like I need to go away, go somewhere new. I like the idea of starting fresh. I always have. Because I know how hard it is to see people with all these ideas of you, and to think that you have to live up to whatever picture they have in their heads - good or bad, true or not. You can't be all those people. There is "I have become all things to all men, that I might win the more." Although that comes with an amount of sacrifice, it does not mean completely changing who you are according to the people you're around. To me it means exposing certain parts of yourself that will draw those certain people to you. It means possibly exaggerating portions of your personality to show how alike you are to someone you are trying to reach.

I yearn to meet someone I don't worry about this with. I'm not saying that everyone I know turns me into someone different; believe me, I only blame my own weakness of spirit and confidence. If you really know me, you know how hard it is for me to NOT think about this stuff. I wish you all knew me, honestly. Maybe you do. I don't know. I wish I knew everyone. I wish I had a memory fine tuned enough to remember every little thing I ever heard about anyone I know. Because then you would know that I do care about you and want to know you more. I wish I was a good enough person to be like that, to really show what I feel.

But what I feel isn't always what I show. And what I show isn't what I want you to see, usually. I can't control what I show, and I don't control what I don't show. I don't discipline my heart like I should. I don't show the loyalty to people that I feel. You call me in trouble, and I will do whatever I can to help you...but how many times do I pick up my phone to see how you're doing? I just want to let you know that, for the most part, it's fear. I love you, but I'm afraid you don't love me the same way. Please don't feel sorry for me or anything or feel obligated to do something about it. Just read this and try to understand that while my greatest desire is save your life, I am the one who needs saving.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Changing for the New Year

Tomorrow work begins on my room. Although, really, it started today when Mom and I moved everything out. It's ridiculous how much crap I have. Seriously. Here's how most of the conversations went during this process:

Me: "I think I'm throwing this away."
Mom: "Why?
Me: "I don't use it."
Mom: "Don't throw it away."
Me: "Why not?"
Mom: "Somebody might want it."
Me: "Fine, put it with the rest of the junk I'm getting rid of."

It kills her, because she's way more of a pack rat than I am. She wants to keep everything, and I just want to shed everything I don't want. I do have some pack rat tendencies, however. I still keep a lot of junk I never use. When I see something I've passed over the last three or four "cleansings" and haven't used since, I chunk it. It's just taking up room.

Now my room is practically empty, minus the furniture. My desk is still full of stuff; Mom didn't want to go through it. Check that: She didn't want ME to go through it. I am getting hold of it tomorrow, though. No doubt. I'll resist the urge to go right now. Tomorrow we will also experiment with different room layouts. I want to move everything, basically. I like this, even though it ain't much fun to move all my crap to various areas of the house. The majority of it is piled in Lauren's room, where I will be stationed for hopefully only a week. I'm excited about doing something new with my room. I like changes, usually. I think. These kinds of changes, I do.