I had a unique conversation with a co-worker yesterday. We shared stories about our differing experiences regarding having grown up in church and been exposed to Christianity at an early age. We spoke about some of the challenges our parents must have faced in raising us as their kids into faith in Christ.
After our conversation there were several conclusions that came to me. The first is that our parents did the best they could with what they were given. What I mean is that my parents, even though they may have taught me something that was not entirely accurate, did so out of love for me and not the desire to oppress me in any way shape or form. For example, there is a mis-truth sometimes taught in Christian circles that suggests if someone commits suicide as a believer he or she forfeits their salvation. While suicide is a horrible tragedy, there is no biblical evidence to suggest that this is the case. In fact, there is much more evidence that counteracts this above assumption (Romans 8:38-39 for example). Parents, leaders and churches that have shared the premise that suicide forfeits one's right to eternal life have done so in a way that was not intended to be malicious. Sometimes what we do as parents and leaders is teach things or demonstrate things that may not be entirely accurate in order to inform the desired behavior we wish to see in the lives of others. In this case, we may have taught suicide forfeits one's salvation in order to create the behavior of choosing life instead of death among our intended audience.
The bottom line is that as we grow and become mature in our faith and in our level of understanding, we are held accountable to this new growth. This does not give us the license to reject growth. We cannot choose to be blind once our eyes have been opened to the truth. Instead, we must react with this new perspective we have and allow it to begin to shape how we live and how we respond to circumstances and challenges of faith.
As Bonny and I teach Saydie to use the toilet instead of doing her business in a diaper, Saydie grows in her understanding and knowledge of being potty trained. We can now hold her accountable to her new level of understanding as to where pee and poop should go, unlike our son Cannon who remains at a different level of understanding because we still use diapers with him.
Maturity in our faith leads to a greater level of understanding of truth. From this new platform of understanding, we must be willing to demonstrate our growth in tangible ways, allowing our fresh perspective to inform and shape who we are and how we live in an ever increasing capacity.
How can we navigate through the uncertainty of conflict in relationships? Where do we start?
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