Saturday, July 12, 2008

Just Good Friends?

Remember that "Gossip" game where you go around the circle whispering in your neighbor's ear what the neighbor on the other side had just whispered in your own ear?

I feel like I was in a Seinfeld episode last night. I was meeting with a precious friend at a restaurant. Friday night. Very busy place. We had a small booth just inside the door to the restaurant. Patrons would enter and stand there waiting for a server to seat them. Did I mention it was busy last night?? More than once, we had a group standing by our table while they waited to be seated.

I was having a deep and long conversation with my sweet friend and was completely oblivious to my surroundings. We were talking about my friend's struggles, ideas, and thoughts that are very vulnerable. It was fun, but intense.

At one point, I began to affirm her and who I esteem her to be. "I love you, (insert name)! You are so precious and I will always love you no matter what decisions you make." At which point, Friend, glanced up to the couple standing by our table and he jerked away and, blushing, said, "I'm so sorry! Excuse me." He walked as far away as he could, yet remained in the waiting-to-be-seated que.

Before I could understand why he had blurted out his "I'm so sorry!" and why he felt like he needed to walk away from our table, Friend dropped her head in her hands, her long blonde hair covering her face. Odd. "What caused that reaction?", thought I.

Before I could process that thought, the woman in the couple also blurted out, "Oh! I'm sorry. Excuse me." And she walked away to where her male companion was now standing.


And then Friend looked up and mouthed to me, "They ... they think ... they think we are ...."


I'm naive. I'm a blonde. I'm slow about stuff like that. Being the last one to catch on to the gossip game here, I realize that this man and woman had been eavesdropping on our whole conversation, which while they were standing there, was not currently about challenging my friend regarding her relationship to God. Nay. The whole segment of our conversation that they heard was the part where I was affirming my friend of her value and worth. Of her precious heart. Of my love for her.


Sheesh. Then we both burst into laughter. And because the place was so packed, and this couple was still fairly near, we tried to continue with our conversation. That was fruitless. We were so distracted by then that neither of us could think. "What do I say?" I asked her. "Here", she said, reaching across the table and laughing, "hold my hands and tell me you love me again!"

I don't think I have ever been mistaken as having a romantic relationship with another woman. However, where we live, this is not uncommon. Less common in the area where I live, but not uncommon. I simply did not know how to respond.

What was worse, the couple was seated just out of earshot of us, but nearby the rest of the meal. I told Friend at one point, "I keep holding my hand on my face so they will see my marriage ring." To which she replied, "Oh, they just think we are married to each other! Or, that we are married, but secretly having an affair!"

See? Gossip and hearing part, but not the entirety of a conversation, is flat out dangerous. It reminds me of taking scripture that you think sounds great and not taking the surrounding scriptures into consideration. Taking scripture out of context is taking part of God's conversation to us and reacting to it, acting upon it, and not considering the entirety of what God has to tell us.
I grew up in a belief system that takes the New Testament as Truth, but anything said in the OT is "the old covenant" and has no bearing on our lives today. This is an egregious error.

The entire bible is God talking to us. "ALL scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." 2 Tim 3:16 What is useful? God's word. How much of it? All scripture. For what is it useful? Teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. Why do we need all of the scripture? Why do we need to be taught, rebuked, corrected and trained? So that as children of God we may be thoroughly equipped. For what? For good work. How much work? For every good work.

We must take the entire bible seriously and learn the character of God from Genesis to Revelation. In listening to His entire conversation, then we have the ability to make decisions because we have the Truth, the whole Truth and nothing but the Truth. So help us, God!

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