There have been two people who have single-handedly changed my views in my walk with Christ. Basically changed my life.
The first. In college I had a friend who was outgoing, loud, and who had an “in your face” humor that either gathered your most inner crudeness, or dispersed your proximity to him. I always found myself sharing plenty of moments in laughter with him. If anything, his presence thinned out my “seriousness” (I need that.. cuz I can be a little uptight).
It was that year where the whole Prop 8 was the big issue, not allowing gay marriage in the state of California. Everyone was proposing to say “no” for Prop 8. While the few conservatives posed their views to vote “yes” for Prop 8. Well, back then, I thought I was a moderate conservative and I sided with the yes-ers.
This whole topic came up while we sat at my favorite spot, where I spent all my breaks, lunches, and any time I had to kill time, the Coho. I was with my friend and my roommate. My roommate and I both sided with the yes-ers. My friend was arguing that we need to embrace our fellow homosexual friends and family members, instead of telling them they’re wrong for what they believe in or how they live. I listened intently while holding onto my views and “values.” He steadfastly gripped on to his knowledge of Jesus and said, “Jesus wouldn’t side with either sides. Jesus wouldn’t vote. He would simply embrace his people.” But, I continued and said, “But it also says in the bible that homosexuality was not right, and it is a sin. It’s wrong.” At this point, it was pretty heated. The moment I said that he got up and exclaimed, “Oh, you think so? Well my sister is gay.” He simply, but so urgently stood up and walked away.
I looked at my roommate in such shock and despair. We actually looked at each other like this 0 o 0. We couldn’t believe what just happened, and we couldn’t believe that we were so accidentally insensitive. That incident sat with me for a day. I didn’t know how to feel, or what I felt more. Did I feel bad that I offended my friend with my narrow views, or did I feel bad that I’ve been living with such a short-sighted heart? I ended up going to his place a couple of days later to apologize and talk about where he was coming from, and where I was coming from. It ended up being a life changing conversation. Everything he said the day before started to make sense to me. “Jesus would embrace his people.” “His” people. “Jesus wouldn’t vote. He wouldn’t stand on either side. He would just love.”
The Second. This actually happened yesterday. I drove down to Berkeley to meet one of my closest friend from Davis. I hadn’t seen her since early summer and I was dying to see her. I love that all our moments together are mostly her talking and me listening. I enjoy it, actually. She’s one of the few people I genuinely love listening to. She’s younger than me, but her soul is mature and like wine, aged well :)
She shared with me of her journey and the process of life, and returning to God. She’s a passionate being, easily catapulted to an extreme. She explained, knowing that side of her she wanted to be careful and cautious re-entering into the church, and this time with her boyfriend. She talked about her past, and experiencing the wild side of the city she used to live in, and the people she used to hang around. She believes that God is in control, so greatly outside of the church. She believes God brought her out of her haze of drug use and her friends. She saw how everything worked out so drastically after that moment she decided she didn’t want to live her life that way anymore. She testified, there’s no one and nothing that can take anyone out of that “state,” they have to make that decision themselves to change. It was so simple, and even so, “duh!” But, it wasn’t until that very moment it clicked for me.
I had been struggling with someone really close to me. Someone I care about more that anything or anyone in this world (next to God)! She has been invested in other things and other people, departing from God and family. Everyday I’m heartbroken thinking about her or seeing her. Everyday I ride on the spectrum of emotions, anger then pain, then back to anger, then sadness, and then bitterness. I’ve been learning so much these past couple of weeks about myself. I’ve learned I am impatient, and when it comes to the people that are the closest to me, I have the hardest time trusting God. I’ve learned that I am controlling and super sensitive. But even through all those life lessons, what my friend said last night sets itself at a place where I am undeniably shaken and urged to change. I can’t say or do anything that will change this person’s mind about what she is doing. I HAVE to trust God will give her a moment, a simple but life changing moment, where she can say, “I don’t want to live like this anymore.” I cannot make that choice for her. It’s her choice to choose.
That, is faith. Knowing God will bring an instantaneous change, without my effort or help is faith.
Last night, my friend helped bring me to another level of faith.
Both of my friends helped bring me to another level of faith, another level of sensitivity, another level of hope, and a huge change in perspective. They didn’t do it through a powerful welling of worship, or through a mighty sermon, they simply spoke through their life experiences. Their testimony. Their beautiful, unorthodox faith. I am left humbled.
Mysterious and breathtaking..such is our God, who we serve.