The past several days have been all over the map. My kids were gone for several days, which is always hard. But I also had great news concerning a job prospect, and that’s all I’ll say about that for now: no official announcements there until things are official.
I felt pretty bad, though, about failing to stand up for my faith while on a date this weekend. So last night at family night, we talked about Courage. I told them an instance of when I didn’t have courage, and we role-played some alternate endings to the conversation and weighed out the rationality of the whole thing.
The basic problem, with a few more details than I provided the kids:
I am a bit of a geek, and I mean that in the nicest way: I’m a smart girl who gets enthused about certain subjects, like computers, music, art, and science. I love hanging out with other geeks. One issue I run into -a lot- with computer and science geeks, though, is that it’s the vogue thing to make fun of Christianity, Christians, the Bible, and sometimes even Christ Himself.
When someone I don’t know and care about says something along those lines, like the guy at a party who rudely laughed out loud at a party over the lyrics to “Behold, this is the way”, I have no problem calling them on their attitudes: they should be able to believe (or not believe) what they want without ridicule, and they should afford the same respect to others.
If a friend says something like that, I’m a little more diplomatic in my approach, but I’m still not afraid to speak my mind. But as soon as any “other” feeling (read: romantic interest) enters the picture, my courage crumbles. And that is bad. Bad enough when it’s hard to say no to food I don’t like, and downright awful when it comes to standing up for my faith. So when a potentially-more-than-friend started showing me some satirical bits that actually did offend my sensibilities, I failed to say or do anything about it.
It should be as simple as this: what do I value more? My faith and integrity? My self-respect? My respect for my Lord and the things He’s done for me? Or the respect of someone who can’t love me for who I am if he doesn’t even understand who I am?
I didn’t tell my kids about the romance bit causing problems, but I did tell them that the part of me that failed was the part that worried about offending a friend. I was pleased with their response: “Well, if they didn’t see any problem with offending you by speaking their mind, shouldn’t it be OK for you to speak yours?”
They are such good kids. 🙂 Both also suggested that I share some of the miracles in my life that make it impossible not to believe. I shared with them, though, the story of how Laman and Lemuel actually saw an angel and -still- doubted. No, trying to argue for the faith by sharing sacred things with people who would just make fun of those too? That won’t do.
But saying, “I consider myself Christian, and it makes me uncomfortable when you say things like that.” should work, right? If they don’t respect that much, they’re not a real friend anyway.
Luckily, at FHE, we ran across the hymn “True to the Faith” — a perfect hymn to think of in sticky situations. I’m hoping I’ll remember it next time. The verse I like best:
“We will strive to be found worthy
Of the kingdom of our Lord,
With the faithful ones redeemed
Who have loved and kept his word. Yes!
True to the faith that our parents have cherished,
True to the truth for which martyrs have perished,
To God’s command,
Soul, heart, and hand,
Faithful and true we will ever stand.”
Here’s hoping that with His grace, I will.
Kids are awesome and it always surprises me the wisdom that they have.
I am friends with many of the same or similar people and am well acquainted with the situations you describe. Especially when I was at USU, there were some people that had to go against the majority so much that they became even more outspoken, which of course meant making fun of members of the church, and our beliefs.
Like I said, your kids are wise and I should take their advice too. I had a recent conversation online where a friend had kind of gone over the line (I felt) in his "good-natured" teasing of those of us who believe. Guess who stood up to him for it? Nope, not me. My non-religious roommate. Even though they probably agreed on a lot, my roomate didn't appreciate that he wasn't showing respect to his friends. But here I was, too scared to say something t a guy I've known fora decade.
Your kids are right. 🙂