Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Our Responsibility

Growing up, I heard the discussion of Protestant community versus the Catholic community. Sadly, it seems like that war/critique hasn't dissipated. Christians are condemning Catholics, doing so openly in conversation.

Protestants believe that the Catholic community does not have a true experience of God, while the Catholic community believes that the Protestant community needs to take a more active role in living out their faith.

Being Protestant, I admit that I have tension when it comes to the Catholic tradition; however, I believe that my first priority is to lead those that are lost, those who do not know Jesus. I know some Catholic students who are very active in their faith and challenge me greatly in my own faith. On the flip side, I also know Catholic students who attend mass due to a cultural or familial obligation. BUT I do not believe it is my place to condemn ANYONE.

Regardless if we are Protestant or Catholic, it is our responsibility to reach and lead those who do not know Jesus to Him. It saddens me that the Protestant community has opted for condemnation within the Christian community rather than guide those who they believe do not know the "real" Jesus to His side.

It is our responsibility as a Christian community to lead those who are lost.

You can't give what you don't have.

As I start another school year at UCLA, I find that I am in a different place than last year. I am definitely in a different building where I am living and I am with many different people. However, it is my difference in my relationships where I see the most profound change.
I have lived so much of my life guarded; guarded due to pain caused by family, friends and neglect. Now I begin to see the pieces of myself, many of them broken, but slowly beginning to heal.

This summer I was able to have the best of both worlds. I was able to be with InterVarsity community while still having work and family to be with at home. It was a time to share with friends what it means to begin healing as well as reflect as to how good God has been to me. I remember walking into the summer rebellious, I didn't want to be home. Slowly, I began to realize how big of a blessing it was to be home; to eat home cooked food everyday and have my mom greet me at the end of a long day of work.

It was as my mom and I were driving back home that God tapped me on the shoulder and showed me something. In my mind were the pieces of myself that had been submerged underwater my entire life; the pieces that wanted to be loved deeply, those that did not trust men, and those that sought acceptance. I saw these pieces raised up out of the water, no longer submerged, but very much above the surface. My soul could relax and breathe.

Seeing these things made me wonder where this change had come from. I thought that I had made progress, sure; but I hadn't noticed just how much. Soon, I noticed that I was eager to see my male friends (whereas a year ago I would have avoided them like the plague). I wanted to share how God had done a work in me, and I wanted to share the love I have for them. I grew frustrated when I learned I had to wait another couple days, which surprised me further.

I began to realize that last year was the year that the men of BCF had shown me the greatest amount of love I'd received in my entire life. I had men pouring love into me, breaking down my insecurities, bitterness and anxiety as I interacted with them (late night talks, countless hugs, support, and community dinners). The love I received during the year left me equipped to love them fully in return, and I can say that they are some of my best friends.

You can't give what you don't have. I didn't have trust or love for the male gender, but since they poured out their love to me first, I don't really have a choice. I received, and now I shall retaliate by loving them right back.