Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Comfort Zone, Bubbles and Tension



I grew up in Southern Manitoba in a Mennonite community where we were taught to follow a set of rules.  It was like the 10 Commandments grew.  Thou shalt not dance, Thou shalt not smoke, thou shalt not drink, thou shalt not go to the movie theatre, thou shalt not play billiards, etc. etc.  When you are given rules to live by, from your parents and/or church, you do one of two things, obey them or break them.  You might try to challenge them or even argue them, but then you still opt for one of the two options.  However, we were also subconsciously taught to just obey them and never to challenge them.

Then something unheard of happened, Billy Graham made a movie for the theatres.  Now what?  A moral dilemma. Billy Graham is good, movies are bad. That was only the beginning of the rules falling apart. School dances happened, billiard tables were brought into homes, etc. etc.  Society grew, changed, advanced and rules got broken.  

For the most part we were not taught to understand the why's of the rules but were told not to challenge them.  We were rarely taught to think critically and to develop a critical mind, whereby we could, in any given situation, be able to decide for ourselves if something was right or wrong.  We were also not taught how to live amongst those who did all the above things; those who lived outside of our rules.  

How can we be salt and light to those outside our faith if we ostracise ourselves from them, and live in a bubble?  How can we live in that world and be a light?  Can we?  Should we? Must we partake to fit in?  Can we befriend those who do things outside of what our conscience says is permissible? 

We need to begin to teach our children, and our young people, how to live in the world; outside of the protection of the ‘bubble’. We need to learn to love those who live differently than we do.  Inviting people to church makes us feel 'safe' and comfortable, because that’s our turf, but how does the other person feel?  We need to teach the church how to enter into the world and love them in THEIR environment.  We need to learn to be okay with feeling uncomfortable in an environment but comfortable in who we are.  We need to love someone enough to live in their world, and try to enjoy their world. 

There is a risk involved.  1 Corinthians 10:11-13 reminds us of exactly this: “…So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall."  There are temptations in the world (actually temptations also exist in the bubble), but the One inside of us is capable of carrying us through whatever He calls us to. Living ‘in the world but not off the world’ means being okay with constant tension. There is little tension if you stay complacently in the bubble. There is little tension if you capitulate completely to the ways of the world. Living in the world, and loving others outside of the bubble, will inevitably produce tension, feelings of being out of your comfort zone, and likely some uneasiness. We will need to teach ourselves to be okay with this  and to be able to handle it. 

One of the things I have been challenged on is that I need to do this daily.  If I love someone, I need to not put conditions on that love.  I will enter their world, I will step outside of my comfort zone to love them.  I will put no expectations on that love.  I will pray that they see that the thing about me that they are drawn to is Christ within me.  I will pray that I will be able to share Christ with them but I will love them even if they reject Him or chose to live otherwise.  I will not judge them by my rules, I will love them. 

2 comments:

  1. Thank you so so much for this! So encouraging, challenging, and yet so true!

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  2. Thanks Jessy, I trust you are living the tension.

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