Dear God, I read a friend’s blog this morning and a story from when he was in his 20s reminded me of the enthusiasm of youth. He spent 10 years running a coffee shop and doing street witnessing at night. While I’ve never done anything that bold for that long, I can certainly recognize a zealousness in my 20s that has been dulled over the last 25 years. What causes that? Was I right then and wrong now? Was I foolish then and wise now?
When I really stop and think about it, I think zealousness about one’s own life philosophies or beliefs is inversely commensurate with one’s exposure to a broader world. It’s easy for the child to believe everything their parent teaches them when they are young because no one else challenges it. But as children age, learn about history, meet new people, read different books, and watch different videos (movies, TV shows, and clips they can watch online) they start to have to reconcile their small world with a vastly larger world.
In my own case, I used to be much more theologically conservative. Only some were going to Heaven and the rest were going to Hell. Certain things were definitely sin that needed to be repented of. My dogma was rigid and my ability to judge others was high. But then life starts to present me with certain realities. It’s easy to think homosexuality is wrong until you have to talk to your gay sibling about it and then you start to think about all of the ways that you yourself have grieved God sexually. It’s easy to think that only those who followed the Christian formula are going to heaven until hundreds of thousands of people (most of them Muslim) die instantaneously in a tsunami at the end of 2004 and you as yourself if hundreds of thousands of people just went straight to hell. It’s easy to think that poor people need to just pick themselves up and get to work until you sit with them in person and really understand the causes of multi-generational poverty and also the particular circumstances in their lives. That’s when you start to really work out your faith with fear and trembling. That is just a taste of what life has taught me over the last 25 years.
Father, I am still on this journey. I am still blind to my prejudices. I guess the one thing I have going for me is that I know that I’m ignorant. I know that my faith and love are incomplete. So I submit myself to you, your teaching, and your process for my life. Protect me from outright heresy. Please keep me from going too far in my worldly knowledge and philosophy. Lead me in your Spirit and your Truth. Be glorified in me so that your kingdom will come and your will will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.
In Jesus’ name I pray,