I have yet to meet a person who is broad minded, and at the same time have basically live a very clean life. Most of the time, I hear people say, “the reason why he understood you is because he committed mistakes in the past that is worst than you did.”
I am expecting the same statement if I demonstrate a broad mind. Some people can be so mean by saying, “the reason why he understood broadly is because he committed the mistake”. Like I don’t have any credibility to speak or give advice anymore. I don’t know, but I notice a school of thought: a school of not listening to people like I mentioned above. For me, we should listen more to people who learned the lesson the hard way. You’ll learn more from them. Whatever happened to the “experience is the best teacher” statement? Whatever happened to the term “living proof”?
Just recently, I gave an advice from a new youth leader, who has happens to be my new classmate. Before the advice though, I congratulated him sincerely. One of the advices that I gave was dogmatism has no room in the youth ministry. (Dogmatism should have no room in real Christianity in the first place. Yes, the Bible is full of legal terms, but that is a different story. Being dogmatic is like being too technical) I told him that young people really come and go. To paraphrase it, I advised him to always leave a margin of error in dealing with young people. Teach the right thing, but be ready for the wrong things that will happen.
He didn’t reply. No thank you whatsoever. Oh well, it’s an advice anyway. He has a free hand to accept it or not. He text a few days after only because he asked where is another classmate’s room number (that former classmate was hospitalized due to asthma). Oh, by the way, he also text me a few weeks ago because he is requesting for my Mom’s presence. Classic. I remember asking him on this. It seems that he’s just replying selectively to text messages. He denied doing a selective reply, stating his busy. Now, that is more classical. Still though, I hope I’m wrong in those assumptions.
Ever since the old church Pastor told to me to stay in the new church because I’m not yet allowed to my serve my sentence (on the ground that my ex-girlfriend is not ready to forgive me yet), my guilt was gone. The guilt in me should be gone. After all, I have done my best to set things right according to their conditions. However, it’s my ex-girlfriend who is causing the delay, it’s no longer me. Therefore, I don’t care if the old church people will question my credibility if ever I will give them advices, especially when it comes to youth leadership. After all, no matter how they put it, majority of the old church people, even leaders, don’t know the whole story. If a close friend committed the same mistake, what will they do? Hide it or help him confess publicly or another graceful exit (sick…they didn’t even give me one)? What will they do if they themselves committed the same mistake? Hide it? Graceful exits (sick)?
It reminds me again of Romans 8:28. That verse was put there to show how fair and just God is. People, even Baptist Christians [even leaders], can be unfair. Thus, God brings back the fairness through people and events. My case is a good example. It is not only because of God’s grace why a Baptist church adopted me, accepted me, and eventually gave me a leadership ministry. It is not only also because of God’s forgiveness. It is also God being fair and just because, let’s face it, there’s a sense of unfairness in the way I was disciplined.
Am I rebelling by saying that? No. I accepted the disciplinary measure, I didn’t defy it. In fact, I’m not going to the old church. Why? They said so. Thus, I respect their decision. Call me a rebel if I still come to the old church even if there is a ban. Besides, it is possible to give due respect to people, but it will not change the fact that it is unfair (they gave “graceful exits” to others). I respect them, I still do, but it is still unfair. It’s like honoring your parents. You honor and respect your parents, but it will not deny the fact that we don’t have perfect parents. It will not deny the fact that parents have their own share of mistakes when it comes to raising children (and I will surely commit my own share of mistakes once I became a father and a husband).
Still though, despite these truths…I know that there is a good day lying ahead. God will surely use people for me to learn and be encouraged. All I need to do is be discerning enough to know who those people are.