For some reason I used to think that if you were mormon or gay or a feminist or an atheist, you had nothing to teach me. I thought that your worldview was invalid. Anything you had to say about faith or life or God passed through me like water through a sieve.

It gets worse.

I used to think that if you and I didn’t agree on every theological and doctrinal point that there was no space for us in each other’s lives. I didn’t know how to love you and how to know you were wrong at the same time.

It never crossed my mind that I could be wrong.

Maybe this response is because I grew up in a culture where there was this prevalent fear of being invaded by the homosexuals and the abortionists. We talked a big game, but when it actually came to believing that God could love all these sinners, we battened down the hatches and only let in like-minded people.

Maybe it’s because I was taught that it was more important to be right than to love.

Or maybe it’s just a symptom of being a fallen, broken person.

For these things I repent.

I repent of the need to be right.

I confess that I was arrogant and hard-hearted where you were different from me.

I confess that I took my sheltered and limited world-view and tried to make it yours. I confess that I judged you in light of this world-view rather than seeing you as a person with inherent human dignity with your own set of beliefs that are as valid as mine.

I confess that I thought Jesus needed me to defend and protect his honor, when all he asks me to do is to show you how much your God loves you–even in the midst of your pain and brokenness and yes, sin.

Because God is so much bigger than our thoughts and ideas. And as I embrace more than what I was taught, as I open my heart and my mind to give and receive love, what I find is this rich tapestry of faith that stretches back for thousands of years. I find people who are different from me, but so passionate about their love for God and their love for people that I want to know them. And I want to be like them.

I want to practice humility that makes me teachable and willing to set aside what I believe so I can really hear and learn. I want to believe that others experiences and stories are as valid as mine, and as we walk this out together that both of our lives and faiths will be enriched, as we challenge one another to live and believe more of God.

I want to hear your story. I don’t want to just stick with the puritanical upbringing that I have grown up in. I want to work out my salvation with fear and trembling. And I want to know that when I think I am right–I’m probably completely backwards.

I end with the lyrics to Derek Webb’s song I Repent:

I repent, I repent of my pursuit of America’s dream

I repent, I repent of living like I deserve anything

Of my house, my fence, my kids, my wife

In our suburb where we’re safe and white

I am wrong and of these things I repent

 

I repent, I repent of parading my liberty

I repent, I repent of paying for what I get for free

And for the way I believe that I am living right

By trading sins for others that are easier to hide

I am wrong and of these things I repent

 

I repent of judging by a law that even I can’t keep

Of wearing righteousness like a disguise

To see through the planks of my own eyes

I repent, I repent of trading truth for false unity

I repent, I repent of confusing peace and idolatry

By caring more of what they think than what I know of what we need

By domesticating you until you look just like me

I am wrong and of these things

I am wrong and of these things

Oh I am wrong and of these things I repent

2 Comments on i repent

  1. Oh I so get this. Especially this part: “Maybe it’s because I was taught that it was more important to be right than to love.” I feel like for most of my life I was concerned with BEING RIGHT more than anything else, thinking as a Christian I mustn’t listen to other people because OH NO I’LL BE DECEIVED BY THE LIES OF THE WORLD, IT’S A SLIPPERY SLOPE. Thank goodness I don’t live with that kind of fear any more. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *