Thursday, May 21, 2015

Well, THAT was helpful (or NOT).

I have lived in Christian circles ALL of my life.

One of my first outings as a newborn was to go to church.

I went to church, and school, and every single extra-curricular activity with the same people.

For a lot of years every single relationship I had was with someone who claimed to be a Christian.

Most of the advice I received over the years has come from Christian sources.  Word-of-mouth, preachers, Sunday School teachers and school teachers, parents, youth leaders, writers.  All Christians.  Most very STRONG believers.

I have learned a LOT over the years about Christians and advice.

I have learned that Christians LOVE to give advice.  We KNOW we have a corner on the market of TRUTH, and we have to share it...because that is what the Gospel is all about.  We forget that some of the stuff we have heard as truth is just someone's opinion, or that the truth we speak may do more harm than good.

I have learned that we are all good at repeating things we have heard from others.  And that we are not necessarily good at verifying whether what we repeat is good or helpful.   Because of my next point, things that are not true will still be part of how I view myself, even after they have been proven untrue.

I have learned that, whether or not what I have been told is good or helpful, I ALWAYS internalize a message about ME when I hear it.  I internalize "do more", "try harder", "trust more".  I hear that I am not enough.  Not good enough, not strong enough, not trusting enough, that I don't have enough faith.

I have learned that living in a fallen world means that the advice we give, the truths we know, and the care that we try to express to others can all be misinterpreted, misapplied, twisted to mean something that was not meant.

I have learned that even very good people and strong believers can give bad advice.

I am still in the middle of the process of learning how to deal with advice without basing my view of myself on the advice given by other people.  I know that not everyone knows this.  I also know that there are some people's advice that needs to be thrown out with the garbage.  I am learning who to trust, and who to politely listen to and NOT to take their advice to heart.  It is a process, like the rest of my healing journey.  I hope that people are willing to show me the grace that they also hope to receive.

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