Yesterday and the day before something came up that I just don’t want to deal with. It’s an issue that is so important and relevant for the church. But it’s hard, messy, and flat out unpleasant. I don’t want to talk about it, but it must be done.
At the festivities and events leading up to graduation I found myself avoiding a particular guy in the class. He’s a very opinionated fundamentalist who dismisses a lot of the emerging church, mocks diversity, and even insulted an African American Christian brother in class. I had to work with him in a group for a class project and found him really tough to work with for a wide variety of reasons. In the celebration of graduation, I see consider him to be the antithesis of much of what Biblical Theological Seminary and I myself stand for. Therefore, at the pre-graduation events, I avoided him.
It was one of those moments where I felt like I was doing something horribly sinful, but could not stop myself. I didn’t know what else to do. I’m sure if I had just chatted with him it would not have been that bad, but there’s always the possibility of getting snared into a conversation that could have been really unpleasant. So there it is in all its pettiness, I avoided a guy just because I know he mocks so much of what I believe and who I, my wife, and friends are.
As I process and work on confessing my thoughts and inaction that fell short of the mark of Christ-likeness, shunning a member of the body of Christ, I am struck at how important it is that we figure out how to get along with each other. I should have at least put aside my grudge or fear or whatever kept me away, and just treat this guy in the way I would want to be treated.
The fact is that we will always have people who repulse us in the church. I need to learn how to approach people who give offense and to love them in spite of what they may say. I may have an MDiv, but learning how to love is something that I’ll be learning for the rest of my life.