Fully Convinced2:48 AM
I come up with muddled ideas, naive ideas, and I don't know where I get them, but I do, and here's one: Because the truth is true, it should be obvious to everyone. Eventually, if you argue long enough and preach long enough and bang Bibles long enough, the truth will come out and everyone will agree. The reason everybody holds different ideas (so I thought) is because nobody actually does their homework. They give up halfway through and never hear the different sides out long enough to make a decision.
This wreaked havoc in me when studying theology. If someone disagreed with me, I started hatching butterflies in my stomach. Wait...what am I missing? What is he missing? How could he just totally destroy this person's view when that person seemed to get everything spot on? What's going on?
Once, I went to a homeschool convention and picked up a brochure from an uber-conservative company on why fiction was evil. At the time, I spent most of my waking hours writing fiction and aspiring to be the next C. S. Lewis. And when I read through the argument -- which even I saw was ridiculous -- I burst into uncontrollable tears. I don't really know why. It upset me, I suppose, that I had to research and argue for yet another aspect of my life to make sure it lined up with Scripture. "They could be right," I told my mom through hiccuping sobs. "They could be right, and I'd have to stop writing."
Everyone holds different ideas on everything. Everyone. If you agree theologically, you most likely disagree practically or vice versa. The Bible gets tossed around for every idea under the sun. I ran myself ragged trying to disprove all opposing viewpoints as wrong to feel confident about declaring certain viewpoints right.
You know what I've discovered? The prevalence of opposing views comes not necessarily from lack of logic or lack of information. It comes, sometimes, from stubbornness, from a dislike of the truth even if convinced it's true, from cowardice to accept the truth. It takes the Spirit to convince a sinner to follow Christ and believe the truth and base his life on the truth, no matter how eloquent the preacher or apologist waxes. Some people quench the Spirit. Some remain in spiritual bondage, unable to see the truth even if they wanted to. (Thank goodness for the grace of our God who sets even us more stubborn people -- like me -- free indeed!)
I think I feel obligated to convince everyone of a certain truth because I blog. God teaches me something, and I hop on the interwebs to declare this truth, and lo and behold, surprise, surprise, someone disagrees with me. Back I go to Scripture to review everything I learned, back I go to prayer. I feel uneasy now about my newfound belief, but not unconvinced. I return to the interwebs and present an even more stellar argument only to have that refuted...and back I go to the drawing board.
I give up. I surrender.
It's not my job to convict people. It's not my job to change hearts. I can't even do that with my own, which is why I constantly fall flat on my face and beg God for the mercy to pardon my ignorance and draw me closer to the truth.
What's important is that I am fully convinced in my own mind -- that I figure out what I believe and that I base my life on that truth. If there's a problematic point that Neighbor Sally cannot figure out but I feel confident on, I have no need to hyperventilate. Spiritual problems and truth problems ultimately lie between God and the individual.
This disturbs me slightly because truth is not a private thing and I don't want to be one of those stuck-up "free in Christ" people who never listen to admonishment. This frees me mostly because I am tired of being discouraged and downhearted over the hundreds of people who put up a fight with my most cherished beliefs.
"I can't explain it!" I cry to God. "I can't put into words what I mean!"
He frees me from that. I clarify when I can, give an answer when people ask it, but when I've explained enough, I finally wipe my hands and move on to the next city or bunker down and pray for revelation. Nobody needs bully me about my beliefs. I need not bully anyone about theirs. I proclaim and I pray, but, ultimately, truth belongs to God and He grants it as He pleases.
Interwebs, I am not apologizing or trying to convince you anymore. I strive to be fully convinced in my own mind. I strive to know God for myself and not make sure that the entire internet supports that endeavor.