By Meli’sa-Kaye Robotham
Whenever I write or make a presentation, I often get the feeling that my words are too simplistic, or that my concerns or my areas of focus are too frivolous to be taken seriously by others. Thankfully, sharing with others has revealed to me that this isn’t so. Nonetheless, my time spent in Germany has made me seriously consider the importance of words. I am often very particular when it comes to my word choice. Trying to speak German was challenging for many reasons. My vocabulary was very limited, and it was often challenging to find the specific words to express my thoughts precisely.
However, one of the things I treasured immensely about my German community is the fact that being open and straightforward is highly valued. It’s okay to say that things aren’t perfect. It’s okay to dislike things; to have a contrary opinion; a different belief. It’s okay to express oneself honestly; in fact, this is preferred!
This entire adventure has made me assess my own beliefs. I think that, sadly, sometimes the more familiar something is, the less meaningful it becomes. In some instances, the original meaning may change over time to suit our specific needs.
Do we seek to have a profound understanding of the life we are called to live? Do we apply rote learning to scripture, without attempting to ascertain the deeper meaning? Do we tout our rehearsed lines at others as a means of lauding our superiority over them? How often do we make others feel unworthy because their beliefs are different from ours? Are our words and actions instruments for permanently guilting others for their past mistakes? Is our Christianity merely routine? Is it something we use to condemn others to eternal misery? How often do we push our private agendas by hiding behind Christianity? Do we force it on others through rules and laws because we think that we alone know what is best?
While I don’t believe that Christians intentionally set out to harm others, do we ever stop to thoroughly consider the consequences of our actions? Do we act in love? Is this love displayed as it is in 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7? Do our words and conduct dissuade others from Christianity?
As someone who has been a Christian for many years, I think it’s essential that I have faith which is strong and informed, rather than loud, condemning, and blind. It is imperative that I don’t merely echo well-known Christian jargon and rehearsed answers when faced with challenging questions or situations. I want to say what I mean and mean what I say! My faith is no exception to this desire to be genuine. Moreover, my experience has made me wonder how often God speaks through me. I’m grateful that God spoke to me through others who subsequently influenced my voice. Who or what influences yours and how are you using it?
What impact does your faith have on those around you?