Holly and I were searching for parking in the very crowed residential streets surrounding Bethany this morning. We got chewed out by a woman walking her dog who we almost hit with the car [completely without our knowing]. Hol quickly apologized, and the woman countered with "'I'm sorry' isn't good enough. Use your eyes! Why don't you ask that church of yours to build you a friggin' parking lot. Two of my friends have been hit by you fucking Christians." Shaken, we found a parking spot and walked the three blocks in the rain to church. "I'm sorry that just happened," I said to Holly.
And I am sorry. It is such a weight on my heart that something accidental could cause such a negative reaction. This woman already seems to have some serious anger against the church, and we only manage to exacerbate that. I am broken over the fact that a near miss on a rainy Sunday further tainted this woman's view of our church and Christians as a whole. But I don't know what to do to change this.
I don't like the fact that no matter what I do, someone is going to hate me. I don't like that loving people does not guarantee love in return. I don't like that just being nice to people won't fix the world.
But I know it doesn't matter what I do and don't like.
This is the verse that automatically popped into my head [I know, I know, Anna's making everything a teaching moment, la la la... sorry] after sitting down at church and writing those first two sentences. Romans 12:18:
If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.It's significant that this verse doesn't read "Live peaceably with all." The beginning clauses are important. This is not a guarantee of peaceful living. It's hey love, live at peace with everyone you come into contact with as much as you possibly can. Let your side of the relationship bring peace, bring hope, and take what you receive with grace. And then I rewrote the Bible. Awesome.
My tea's gone cold.
This is something I struggle with because I want everybody to love each other. "Guys, stop fighting" is kind of my catchphrase. But this is not a realistic worldview. I have to accept the fact that there's going to be hatred no matter how I'm living. In the face of this reality, I will live faithfully, love faithfully [or at least try].
My life will not be measured by how many people loved or hated me. We will stop failing when we stop trying to succeed and start trying to establish Kingdom [thanks, Andrew Marin].