I was thinking about what Jesus would say about my latest blog post, Code Blue. Would He be angry with me? Disappointed? Perhaps He’d decide He doesn’t want me in heaven anymore, much less His church. I’m too outspoken to belong. Ruffle too many feathers. Heaven is for peaceful people only! Only people with smooth edges allowed!
Or perhaps He would approach me the same way my high school creative writing teacher would after handing in my first draft. Or one of my acting coaches after performing a clumsy monologue for the first time by memory. He would ask me…
How do you feel about it?
I feel okay. I mean, I feel good. No. I mean. I feel it was right and what happened was wrong.
I don’t want to talk about it.
Okay. But it sounds like you’re angry. Did you write the post when you were mad?
I prefer the term, ‘passionate,’ but if we’re doing the Chair Exercise from The Method where I can only pick one of the emotions: happy, sad, scared or mad. Then yeah, I was mad.
Interesting. Okay. I’ll come back to that. Do you think it was a truthful piece of writing?
Truthful meaning, truthful to the moment? To how I was feeling? Then, yes. I was truthful.
What about truthful in a factual way? Did you slander people or falsely accuse?
It was factual in the sense that I commented on what I had seen or experienced. But I didn’t do any “research” (aka ‘gossip’) to follow-up and find out what happened after I watched people do this. Apparently, I upset a couple people because they felt they were being made an example of. Which is true. There were a couple people I had in mind. But I guess they already repented or something. I don’t know exactly what happened but it was eluded that the situation is different now. But, oh, okay. Here’s something. I do admit that I hyperbolized the ‘tragedy’ part. I wasn’t talking about a terrorist attack or natural disaster. I was referring to something on a smaller scale. Personally, I would consider the situation the people were facing a tragedy but I’m also melodramatic. Soooo. It depends. And they weren’t slandering, they were criticizing which I think could be okay but I took it personally. So. Maybe that wasn’t a fair example. So I take responsibility for that.
When did it happen?
Some of it happened recently but most of it happened a couple months ago but the thing that triggered it happened that day.
So you were mad mostly at one person but hit a couple people along the way?
I DIDN’T HIT THEM. I JUST SAID IT’S WRONG TO GOSSIP AND THEY GOT MAD.
Okay. So would you admit you’re bitter?
On a scale of 1-10, 1 being, ‘Not at all,’ and 10 being–
Okay. Well. Two points for honesty! So. Let’s take a minute and look at the iconic question: WWJD? What would Jesus do? What would I do.
I believe you would call out gossip in a public forum. You condemn the Pharisees in Matthew 23 and it’s very satisfying.
If I told you that was my job and not yours, would you believe me?
Maybe… I mean, yes. I believe it’s your job and not mine. I don’t like admitting that though.
Because it feels good to be up there. The queen of the castle.
Because you feel like people put you down real low.
Do you believe I can do my job?
Like, do I trust you?
Do you want the right answer or the honest answer?
I don’t believe you yet. But I want to.
Good. Great. I can work with that.
But I’m still really mad. And even though I said I would repent online, I can’t stop thinking about all the things that lead up to it.
Do you think I could heal your heart?
Yes, I do. You’ve done it before.
Good. Back to the writing. Do you think it was loving?
Well, if you can holler at people about their sin, then it must be loving. Everything you do is loving. Even when you discipline, it’s loving.
But do you think you cared for the church’s reputation the same way you care about yours?
I don’t care about my reputation. I lost my reputation when I became a Christian and I talk about my failures all the time on my blog. Why can’t I talk about others failures?
Because it’s not loving? Because people don’t do that to you?
Okay but you’re still trying to prove your innocence to me so clearly you do care about your reputation in some form or another.
Touché. Then, no. I didn’t care about their reputation because the people who hurt me — never mind.
So you retaliated.
Kind of. I was triggered and I responded to the trigger. Is that retaliation? I don’t know.
But there was some anger there, right?
And it was directed somewhere?
Do you think that was right or loving?
The exposing of sin wasn’t loving. Neither was the finger pointing but the other stuff was.
So I want to apologize but I don’t know how to mean it. I’m not sorry for calling gossip a sin. And I’m not sorry it made people mad. I want to write about sin and injustice and the mean things Christians do. It’s not right. It’s not right how people treat each other. And you talk about us counting the cost if we become believers and sometimes that means realizing–
Tread lightly, my girl. Be loving.
It means realizing— or walking… It’s just that there’s a cost here and even though I can’t write about it, I don’t feel it’s right to tell people who are thinking about following you that it’s all sunshine, rainbows, puppies and popsicles. Like most people would say marriage is great but it’s not easy. And I’d say the same thing about church. It’s great but it’s not easy. Plus, I mean, non-believers know we’re hypocrites. The majority of them aren’t sure if we can be trusted. So why don’t I just admit it out loud? Talk about the elephant in the room. Just get it out and clear the air. Everybody knows it but I don’t see Christians admitting it or like, stopping.
Is there a different way to draw attention to this problem rather than resorting to anger?
Probs but I’m too tired to figure out what that is right now… Look, I want to apologize but I don’t know how to to do it authentically. I know I’m a sinner and I know I hurt the church’s reputation which other people do all the time and I know it’s not okay for a child of God to do. So I want to apologize for that but I don’t know how to do it when I’m so mad.
What if you did it the way you forgave people? You learned this lesson awhile ago. Forgiveness isn’t–
— an emotion. It’s a choice. The feelings will come later. You think repentance is like that, too?
Could be. I wouldn’t know. I never sinned. 😉 Oh ha ha ha, Jesus. You’re so funny.
He nods or shrugs.
Let’s find out.
Even if I’m not ‘there’ yet?
It’s a good place to start.
Do I have to explain all the reasons I did it?
It’s probably better if you didn’t.
Can I at least give an explanation as to why I behaved the way I did?
Personally, I feel the best apologies do not excuse their behaviour. Simply take responsibility for what you did wrong and leave it at that.
Okay. “To my church, I’m sorry for responding in anger to what was happening around me. I’m sorry for judging other people and not minding my own business. I’m sorry for exaggerating the word ‘tragedy’ and the word ‘slander’ when I actually meant, ‘criticize.’ And I’m sorry for not caring about the reputation of the church the way I care about my reputation. That’s wrong.”… How was that? Is that good?
You tell me.
A little mechanical but in a couple months, I think I could say it from the heart and really mean it.
Okay. I can work with that.
Can I go to bed now?
You don’t have to ask but yes, of course. Go to bed now.