Sunday, January 03, 2010

I know her heart meant well

I'm remembering a letter I got from an aunt with good intentions.
I renewed acquaintance with her at a wedding. She was wearing a gold pin on her jacket, I mentioned that it looked like Johnathan Living Seagull. He was the character in a book I was reading at the time. She let me know that their gold seagull was actually a dove and it represented the Holy Spirit. Happily, we chatted about God and our faiths. I was Catholic at the time. (Which by the way is worth a whole post by
itself cause I still love the Catholic church even though I do recognize it's error.)
She was not catholic. She believed that Catholics were unbelievers and
doomed to hell. Typical protestant response.
The point of this blog post is that after leaving the wedding in Pennsylvania, I traveled back to my home in Maryland and received a letter from my aunt. I must have been encouraged by the letter cause as a 17 year old young lady I took the time to write them back, explaining my spiritual journey. I talked about how it seems my path is dark and Jesus guides me but I feel alone and don't always know the way to go. In their zeal to be true to God's Word,  they referenced 1 John 1:5-10

 This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; 7 but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.

I agree with God's Word cause I know it's true but the aunt was so busy being right that she missed the chance to love a confused and struggling young woman.
She gave me the letter of the law - yes, it was the truth but there was no love sent with it. It was condemnation rather then restoration. All I got from that letter was that I was a liar and basically going to hell. I completely shut down and never had any contact with her again.
What if ... what if instead of giving me a huge nugget of truth that basically killed me off, what if she started with milk. Something like .. The Lord is your Shepherd and He loves you and will not abandon you. His Word is a light to your feet, light unto my path. And maybe some helpful verses to hold on to. To direct me toward the Lord and His Word.
My hope in writing this is that others can learn from my experience and as we spread the Gospel, the good news of Jesus we do it like He did. Jesus has compassion for the lost, He said He didn't come to condemn but to save. That's what I believe. To maybe build relationships and then within that parameter speak His Word. I truly believe people don't care how much you know until they know how much you care. My aunt should have taken the time to develop a relationship that could stand a harsh rebuke, instead the harsh rebuke came with very little relationship.
I am not at upset with my aunt. As an adult I have full understanding of her desire to do what was right, she didn't mean to hurt my feelings. She probably thought she was going to use the Word to convict me of my sin and lead me to eternal life. Her heart was in the right place she just was missing tact and grace. But, I can tell you, almost 30 years later, every time I read that passage I think about that aunt, but this morning as I read that Bible selection, it occurred to me to write this post, maybe it will be an encouragement to someone to avoid making the same mistake she made.


Elisa Mary said...

Very interesting, I'm sorry this happened. But it's a good lesson for me to keep in mind as I meet people who aren't Christians. Yes, God could use a harsh rebuke, but the Bible is all about LOVE. Jesus IS Love.

Kimberly said...

I'd never heard that story before. It's a sad thing but also good illustration that God is still in charge. While it may have saved you many troubles had she sought the Holy Spirit, God still brought you to him. Your story convicts me and gives me hope. Convicts me that I miss opportunities bc I'm not listening, yet hope bc God turns around my screwups.

I see from a human stand point