Thursday, August 21, 2014

Making Room for Grace and the Middle Ground: reflections on my social media newsfeed.

My news feed has been full of links to articles this summer. Links to articles telling me how I should feel or think about things. Things like yoga pants and modesty. Things like depression and suicide. Things like silly/fun fundraisers and stem cell research and hashtag activism.

And I want to shake my head and throw up my hands and say "YOU PEOPLE!"

Because there seems to be no room for a middle ground.

Because my position as a Godly woman seems to come down to what kind of pants I wear and either I agree with you or I am an attention-seeking harlot. Because there seems to be no grace for a tired mom whose weight fluctuations are equaled only by her one-year-old’s mood swings and who can't seem to find time to do laundry.

Because there seems to be no respect for the grieving. Or the dead. Or those struggling with unspeakable pain. Or those who misspeak and say something with truth but maybe not love. Because one man couldn’t see past his pain and one man couldn’t see past his pride and both men needed the same thing. Grace.  

Because we are easily irritated by a fad on our news feed and don't bother to look deeper to the story behind it. Because it is easier to point out the negative than look for the positive.  Because sometimes we forget that being "pro-life" is just as much about loving and supporting and seeking healing for the living in whatever broken place we find it as it is protecting the yet to be born. Because judgment is easier than grace.

Because there is a bigger picture we are missing.

And then I read this post. And my heart sings YES!

God didn’t stand back and point out all of our mistakes. He sent his son and got dirty up to his elbows. He surrounded himself with flawed, broken people and loved them. He looked past their superficial needs to the heart of what they needed. Grace.

What if we, what if I took Romans 12:10 to heart.
 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.

What if we stopped pointing fingers, stopped rolling our eyes, stopped arguing our side and put that same energy into loving one another?
 
What if, rather than proving we were right, we sought to outdo one another in showing honor? 
What if we took time to sit down and listen to each other's stories? Listening to the whys and lifting each other up in prayer. What if we withheld judgment till we know the whole story. Or maybe withheld judgment all together and simply pointed each other toward grace.

What if we were really daring and shared our own stories: of loss, of pain, of failure, of sin, of questioning. Not to glorify these things, but to take away their power. It is the things that remain unspoken that drive the biggest wedge between us. It is the illusion of perfection and knowing all that answers that keeps others quiet. 

Maybe it's time we take the conversation further than social media and into our homes, across our tables, in real relationships with community and genuine accountability.  What if we stopped vaugebooking and spoke loving truth into each other's lives. 

Yes, this is hard, yes, this is invasive, yes this is wildly uncomfortable.  

But what if we took the chance? 

What would that look like? I would love to hear from you. How do you find the balance between truth and grace. Is there a way to stand up for what you believe in on social media with out coming across as condescending and self righteous? What does real community and accountability look like? 

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