When I arrived for my freshman year of college at Evangel University and settled in my dorm room, I was excited. It was an adventure. Twelve hours away from the only town I had ever lived, I knew life would be different. I was thrown into a new church, chapel three times a week and some of the smartest professors around. To say I grew in my faith would be an understatement.
When I graduated college and hit the reality of life, college loans and rent for an apartment, I wasn’t so excited. But, the change forced me to grow in my faith. Moving to a new town, a new church, a new job…
And the cycle continues. Every move I make brings new experiences that effect me in a different way. My understanding of God has deepened, widened and changed throughout those years. But as we know, God hasn’t changed. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. It’s our human understanding that should continually be refined.
Everyone is in a different place in their journey and understanding of God. Being kind to those in a different understanding of God, shows we can extend the same grace we received earlier in our journey. I came across this tweet from author Peter Rollins. Four years ago I “favorited” it on Twitter because of the journey I had been on thus far. And as the journey has progressed so much in those year, this quote resonates with me again today.
“When we’re judgemental of others naive positions we often demonstrate a profound amnesia concerning the journey that we have taken. Our lack of grace only serves to insult the grace that was shown to us by others who helped us rethink our positions. Instead of engendering concern & change, this amnesia demonstrates arrogance & perpetuates the status quo.” – Peter Rollins
Profound amnesia. Ouch. Have we forgotten how far we’ve come? Have we forgotten the grace that Jesus showed to Thomas after he doubted? Have we never read about the lengths that Jesus took to reach out to Saul on the Damascus Road? Are we ignoring that God was faithful to a doubting, laughing Abraham? God’s grace is bigger than we can ever imagine.
Asking the right questions and seeking out those who can challenge us in our faith is critical to this growth. That’s why being in community is so important. It creates a place for us to share our journey together and to grow together. Be intentional about growth. If we aren’t intentional about it, we give up control of who we will become. We’ll be swayed by our Facebook feed, the television shows we watch and whoever we happen to have conversations with on a regular basis.
So my challenge to you today is to be intentional with your journey. Read books that challenge your faith and open your eyes to the grace of God in a new way. Open Door Church also has a couple of great ways to help you grow beyond Sunday morning. Join a Life Group. Life Groups meet weekly in most cases and can become some of your closest allies in your walk with God. Find a mentor, someone to do life with on a regular basis. We can’t stay in the same place we were a year ago and be a healthy Christian.
No matter where you are in your journey, be kind to those in a different place. Maybe you know more than them. But, maybe they know more than you and you can learn from them. There is only one way to find out.