We proceeded to get off of the phone. I ended it with something sarcastic, feeling the pride in me ooze from every crack in my personality. I looked out of the windshield, fought tears, and asked God to just make this right; to help me understand this better, because I am terrible at it. I wanted to be so angry with this person, to lash out in retaliation by no longer associating myself with them, because, you know, that will ‘really show them’. Unfortunately, it conflicts with everything I believe and stand for – Jesus.
So, I cried. I let it out and unraveled the conversation. I saw where I was wrong, where I was so unloving. Sure, regarding this situation, there is such a difference between condemning and condoning, but riding the line that separates them is like walking on a tightrope for me – crossing my fingers, hoping that I will make it to the other side.
And it is precisely those thoughts that typically keep me away from approaching the conversation of their lifestyle and their decisions. So I don’t even bother talking with them. Ever. But each time I actually do start the conversation with this person, I tell myself that I cannot resist asking why they threw their relationship with God away in order to pursue this sort of lifestyle that is unfulfilling, and the result, utterly tragic. Each time their response is that they love their life and the bright lights. It can so easily, so quickly turn into a battle of opinions – while my ‘opinion’ is doused in truth – it is still just an opinion with them. It turns into another car ride of me crying, asking for forgiveness for being so judgmental, and for not being Jesus to this person. I am reminded how much I have to work on, and how Jesus is so perfect and I am so not.
As I write this, I just have to keep reminding myself of the truth. While I’ll never accept it as a part of their being, I cannot be the one to bear such judgement that it severs the relationship. In Romans 2, Paul says, “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.” And in order to get this verse in full context, you have to refer to Romans 1 and understand that the subject or sin Paul is referring to is to not be left in our hands to judge, but it is God’s judgement call. That is why God is God and we are human.
It’s always refreshing to read and remind myself of those words, because each time I read them, each time I have that conversation, each time I feel like throwing the relationship away, I have to be reminded that I, myself, am no better. I am a sinner. I had to be rescued too. I am a prodigal daughter.
To this person, I love you very much. There will come a time when those same bright lights, that held such a life to be pursued, will fade. When it does, I will be there with my lamp. The depth of this relationship, I cannot escape. For we share blood, brother. As long as I live, I will fight not to give up on you.