SShhhh… I’d rather keep that a secret.

27 Jan

Do you know what I’ve noticed lately?  I don’t want to tell you.  It doesn’t make me look very good.  In fact, it makes me look like the work-in-progress sinner that I really am, and frankly — what qualifies me to lead or teach anyone if I still struggle with such ugly sins?

That’s a lovely opening paragraph isn’t it?  Now I have divided my readers into two groups — 1.) Those who are dying to know my dirt.  2.) Those who are saying, thank God she hasn’t mastered everything, I feel a whole lot better about myself.

Either way – keep reading because guess what – I fall into both groups.  So I don’t judge either of you — I’m happy to welcome you all.

Here’s the dirt, er… topic for today.

I struggle big time with what I allow to be public knowledge about myself depending on who the groups of people are that I’m socializing with at the time.

Like, do I deny Christ? No. Not even a little.  I’m not saying I struggle with my identity in Christ.

I’m talking about what I pin on my public Pinterest boards.

And what I talk about on my blog.

And what I post on my Facebook wall.

And what I talk openly about in public conversation.

On topics like, alcohol, entertainment and finances.

Why?  I can answer that with bold clarity.  Because I have no idea how my honest answers will change my image, making me either seem less Christian, or unapproachable to my non-Christian friends.

I’m not a prude.  And I don’t lay awake at night planning how to portray a fake image.  If you’ve been reading along for ANY amount of time — my bigger flaw would be that I’m TOO real and honest, verses fake and put on.

However, I just know what topics to avoid.

And there is a very good reason for this.  Because I notice myself judging the image of others when I see them post updates, pin pins, and talk openly about these topic in a way that I disagree with and I have to battle not allowing it settle in my mind as something I am righteous enough to condemn.  Because I am not. I have no business casting stones, and I certainly don’t want to be the judge of anyone.

So because I know I have a bent toward forming opinions of others, I naturally assume they are going to do the same for me.

And the people-pleaser in me doesn’t want to be thought of negatively.  I know I am not liked by everyone, and that’s OK with me.  But, that doesn’t mean I ever enjoy being misunderstand or not liked.

Do you want to know where I stand on those issues?

Ok, you twisted my arm.

Alcohol — I don’t think drinking alcohol is a sin.  I believe I can prove from scripture that Jesus drank and that enjoying alcohol in moderation is not unacceptable.  I DO BELIEVE the abuse of alcohol and getting drunk is a sin.  Can I be the judge of how much is too much for anyone? No I can’t.  Do I believe everyone who drinks alcohol knows the difference between having a small acceptable amount and drinking in excess? Yes I do.

Entertainment — I have a very strict personal belief on entertainment.  I believe whenever we use anything to escape life and responsibility that we are sinning.  I also think that it’s hard to find appropriate entertainment most of the time, though not impossible.  When we watch things that have sinful behavior in it, we are desensitizing ourselves to the importance of sinful choices, and even laughing at the disrespect of God and His design of morality. Do I believe all television shows and movies are evil and Christians should never watch? No.  Do I think most Christians watch things they shouldn’t and think they can minimize it with things like “I can handle it”, “it doesn’t bother me”, “I still think sin is sin”, “I just need to relax” …. Yes I do.

Finances —  I think God should get the first 10% of ALL our income, as a minimum.  I think the world has become dependent on loans as a means to do things in our timing and to meet our desires, and I don’t think that is the way God intended us to use finances.  Scripture says that the borrower is a slave to the lender… and I don’t think “slave” is a word to represent something pleasant or desirable.  And I think we watch what people make, and what they spend, and often judge their choices.

Yes, there are a lot of other hot button topics that divide the church. And those topics make people seem “less Christian” or “too religious to be approachable” to non-believers.  And yes, I have a belief or personal opinion about all of them.

Practical Application –

Am I going to start speaking my mind publicly on every topic starting today?  No.  I still think using discernment is wise. And having a gentle and quiet spirit is desirable. And, speaking EVERYTHING in love is essential.

But I am going to start taking that primary instinct to judge others for being real about their daily activities and respecting their position while I pray for myself.

The truth is — If I’m struggling with what they are posting in a “condemning” sort of attitude (regardless of if what they say, pin, post, or write is sinful or not sinful) I can’t change them, but I can ask God to change my heart for them.  And if it truly is sinful, pray for them in a loving way that God would open their eyes, instead of secretly thinking they are crazy for putting that out there.

 

 

 

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5 Responses to “SShhhh… I’d rather keep that a secret.”

  1. howsyourlovelife January 27, 2014 at 11:37 am #

    I think if we are honest with ourselves, we all struggle with this in some form or fashion. It helps to remember that as believers, we are all on a journey here, coming from very different places, on the way to the same place. With different backgrounds and experiences, we view things with different lenses, and we must give each other room for growth over time.
    On the three topics you raised, I agree with you completely. I can be very judgmental on entertainment because it is an area where I am strong. I think it works that way – we judge more harshly when it’s not an issue for us…I used to be very critical of those I have regarded as weak parents, until God showed me the struggle of parenting children with special needs. We just don’t know where someone else is coming from, or what they are currently dealing with.
    Good thoughts. Hope you are staying warm in your part of the country!

    • Kayla Gulick January 27, 2014 at 12:05 pm #

      That’s a very valid and good point. When we are strong, we lose our empathy for those who are weak. I’m so glad you added that!

      It is cold here for sure!!! High of -1 tomorrow, with wind chills, we’re at -30 to -40 below. What an intense winter compared to the past five we’ve had!

      • howsyourlovelife January 27, 2014 at 12:23 pm #

        Sounds like today we have your tomorrow’s weather! Putting on another layer….

  2. Elizabeth January 27, 2014 at 8:49 pm #

    Kayla, I really enjoyed this. I admire the stance of moderation you’ve taken in not utterly condemning alcohol as many Christians do. The Bible says that some with a “weak conscience” would refuse to eat meat that had earlier been sacrificed to idols, even though it was not defiled for the Christian who chose to purchase and eat it for sustenance, not use it in pagan worship. Perhaps those who now condemn all drinking lack the spiritual insight or personal discipline needed to understand that drinking alcohol is acceptable–even healthy–when it isn’t misused and enjoy it in moderation. Jesus’ first miracle was turning water into wine for a wedding feast, after all!
    I, like you, am snuggled in tonight keeping warm under the Arctic vortex blanketing the MIdwest. Please do keep writing, and much love to you!

    • Kayla Gulick January 27, 2014 at 9:03 pm #

      Thanks Elizabeth for you comment. I appreciate you sharing your understandings of scripture and providing food for thought on some of these tough topics.

      And thanks for the encouragement too! It’s always a blessing to me to know that what I’m writing is being useful to others!

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