Re-sounding: sounding over and over and over; impossible not to hear
A few weeks back I got into an argument on the sidewalk outside of school with another mom. It was religious and political and although I played dead for a loooong time, my silence was interpreted as disagreement and I was advised to speak to my pastor for guidance.
At which point I engaged the argument in my own fun style, and it didn’t end well.
She wasn’t rude. She wasn’t angry. But she was re-sounding. As soon as she perceived that I was only adjacent to her beliefs, I was under attack–not by what she was saying, but by the volume of words she spoke at me without stopping to listen.
This is not ok. I apologized for the way I lost my temper and we agreed to disagree. But we have not spoken since.
Because here’s the thing, and maybe she feels the same way–I can’t unknow what she showed me.
And I don’t know what to do with that.
I kept her at arm’s length because I feared this would happen. I keep a lot of people at arm’s length these days. We are trying to raise our kids with gospel values, which I believe can be summed up in these lines from the For King and Country song Fix My Eyes:
(I’d) love like I’m not scared
Give when it’s not fair
Live life for another
Take time for a brother
Fight for the weak ones
Speak out for freedom
Find faith in the battle
Stand tall, but above it all
Fix my eyes on you
There are many people around me, and too many sitting with me in church, who say and believe awful things, lies even, about other people. They say it in hushed voices or let nasty memes do their dirty work on Facebook. They have Not of This World bumper stickers next to political bumper stickers that are so awful you can’t believe they have the guts to drive around in the dang car.
For them, it’s not a problem.
For me, it is.
I’m supposed to love everybody and I try, but when it comes to friendships, what’s an appropriate line? I never want to be so narrow-minded that I only surround myself with those who think like me, but I do want a foundation of kindness and charity in the people I invite to sit at my table.
The re-sounding gongs–those who fear so completely and constantly that every stranger is a villain; those who delight in a God so vengeful he would kill thousands of people because of sin; those who judge others without hearing their stories; those who work among the children of people they despise–can I shut my door against them all?
And if I do, how will they learn to change their tune and how will we ever make God’s kingdom come here on earth?
I don’t know. Do you?