A Lesson From An Atheist

Our differences are stark:
He’s a “man’s man who don’t need no woman.” I’m every type of tomboy imaginable but I still look for sentimentality in stupid places and love leaning on the man of my heart.

My friend is an atheist. I’m a Christian. 
He thinks I need more rights as a woman. I couldn’t disagree more.

He’s black. I’m so white I’m translucent.

He can’t stand “the system.” Though it rubs against my every day activities, I’ve learned to roll with the punches unless it’s biblically and morally uncalled for.

Our similarities crack me up:

We both love to argue.

We both like to argue.

In case you missed it, we both love to argue.

We both know how to source our facts.

We both hate politics, but our shared desire for justice makes most of our conversations about things we need to see change in this country.

There is nothing more comical than putting a determined atheist in a friendship with a stubborn follower of Jesus Christ. Many o’ times, one of us (usually me) calls a time out on our heated arguments about Jesus, religion, women’s rights, marriage, children and every other hot topic because our friendship matters more than our opinions. Too many times, I’ve wandered into the Throne Room screaming, “Why, Jesus?!” when the arguments can’t end on agreeable terms. I’ve been told a time or two this guy would love it if he could just program me to “get it.”

No matter how much our differences heat us up, though, we stop when our respect for each other is threatened. I have my boundaries, he has his. Crossing those boundaries is not allowed, especially if we feel like the other person’s value is undermined because of our disagreement. It’s acceptable to be passionate about something the other person is not. It’s also acceptable to shut up for a while. It’s even acceptable to decide talking till you agree isn’t worth sacrificing the friendship itself.

It is not acceptable, however, to devalue another person or attempt to strip them of their opinion because it makes you uncomfortable. 

Being acclaimed as right is nice, I’ll give you that. But sometimes, the people that are able to stand strongly by simply living out their views in how they treat others will leave the most impact.

Failing to Defend

I let out a little squeal as I opened the package. I wiped away tears as I realized its contents worked perfectly. I shook my head in wonder as I mentally pestered God about the necessity of my purchase. He was apparently honoring my whimsical desire to steward well what little money I had, but the whole scenario made no sense. I had muttered a crazy dream toward His direction one night and He was orchestrating it without my help. I wanted to be excited; but my faith stuttered and I let my logical argument with my Dream-Painting Lord begin.

After all, though my new possession was frugal, well-intentioned and useful, the fact of the matter is, I won’t need the contents of the monstrously large box for… Well, I don’t know exactly when I’ll need it. I just obeyed what I felt God was telling me to do. Only after the purchase was made did I lose confidence in my act of faith and started regretting and worrying about the wisdom of my decision. 

But, I had to remember one thing. I had prayed about it and God had mercifully worked out details which I never would have thought about myself. Apparently, it was the right move. Apparently, God had His reasons for making me do something as nonsensical as ordering something I won’t be using anytime soon. Honestly, barring all leaps of faith and being the doomsday prophet that I am, it’s possible I’ll never use it.

Too often, I forget what I’m responsible for when God calls me to step out in faith. Without even thinking about it, I act as if my act of faith is only important if I can justify it to those around me. Even deeper, I lose confidence in my obedience when I can envision being told my dreams, goals and actions are ridiculous. The moment I hear that, the joy of obedience is lost because I faced opposition.

It’s as if I can hear my Savior saying, “You obeyed Me, Kiddo. You found joy in the unknowns and in the simplicity of watching Me work until you listened to the world that doesn’t understand Me in the first place. You asked me to use you, you begged me to honor your desire to use your resources well. You answer to Me, not them. 

Because of your obedience, if the time comes, I will not fail in defending your decision. I am the Judge that matters.”