Last Sunday, on my weekly post, I was going to include the fact I’d achieved ROY.G.BIV in my closet.
Months earlier I’d complimented my husband on his new-found closet organizing, color coordinating skills. He waved across his shirts and said, “ROYGBIV” (pronounced roy-ga-biv). I’d never heard the term before. red-orange-yellow-green-blue-indigo-violet. Am I the only person on the planet who did not know that ?
Anyway, due to a crazy good sale I found whilst shopping with my mom a couple of weeks ago, I added some new tops to my wardrobe and thought they looked kind of cool hanging there.
Until (gasp) I realized these tops made a rainbow. And last Sunday, I did not want to be associated with any rainbow. No way. No how. Period.
Being the thinker I am, I’ve spent considerable time mulling over my anti-rainbow gut reaction.
Obviously, it’s more than the rainbow. It’s the ever-changing nature of our American culture.
It is change I find disturbing.
So all week I’ve observed the rainbow banner, the #Love Wins, the ugliness erupt on both sides of the same-sex marriage issue with law suits and the words bigot and intolerance bandied about on blogs, Facebook and Twitter.
The back and forth within the Christian community alone is sad and disappointing. And I don’t know what Bible is being quoted, but some of the words and actions attributed to Jesus don’t exist in anything I’ve ever read.
Me? I’ve wanted to rant a little myself. But I’m not a debater. At least that’s what I tell myself while eloquently pleading a case to my bar of soap in the shower, while I drive, while watering the plants, while doing laundry and while cooking dinner.
Man! I’ve got to get this stuff out of my head!
So how do I remain faithful to God, true to myself and meaningfully share this planet with those I don’t agree with? I’ve got a plan for that….
1) Preserve relationships –
If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. – Romans 12:18
I love my people. I respect my people. But all my people don’t believe the same thing I do.
I may be on the conservative side. They may be on the liberal side. But when we share life events, when we sit around the dinner table together, it will be with love and respect and concern for the other, as far as it depends on me.
Love is greater than being right.
And that extends to friends and friends I’ve yet to meet. Because when rainbow flags and being right is our focus, we cannot hear anyone else. And when we label, mock and marginalize, we do not learn.
2) Remain in Faith –
Remain in me and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine; and you cannot be fruitful apart from me. John 15:4
Those actually are words Jesus said. And they’re words I hold on to. Ask me how I know they are true….
I’ve lived long enough and screwed up enough and been extended more grace than anyone deserves. I know who I am, I know what I believe and in whom I believe. And I’m standing firm.
That is not bigotry.
That is faith.
I trust Him to guide my thoughts and words and direct my steps.
3) Punch fear in the face –
In the words of the great philosopher, Rocky Balboa –
It ain’t about how hard you hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.
I’m not sure why. I’ve looked back on my life to find an event that might have triggered this, but I struggle with fear.
I fear offending people. And sometimes it’s silly stuff, like I’ll want to call one of my sons. And then I spend an hour trying to decide if this is a good time to call, is he working, is he eating dinner with his family – – and then when I get him on the phone I start apologizing for disturbing him. What is the deal??
I mean, this fear thing goes way back…. when Doug and I went on our first date, oh, about 47ish years ago, we stopped in Santa Cruz, California to watch the ocean. It was getting too dark and windy to walk on the beach, so we stood on the edge of a cliff, watching the waves crash below us. Suddenly I saw his arms raise over my head and my first thought… my first thought, people!, is…
… “he’s going to push me off the cliff”! Who thinks stuff like that?? And by the way, he was just throwing his jacket over my shoulders.
Anyway, beyond being tossed off cliffs and making phone calls at inappropriate times… I fear being judged. I don’t like labels. It’s hard to undo the false perception someone paints on you. And a label does not account for the whole of your life story. I know this first hand… from the receiving end and the giving end.
But maybe worse than being labeled is being afraid to speak up at the right time. Even taking points #1 and #2 into account, there are times to speak up and stand up. And that’s why I need to get violent with fear.
I’ve noticed that intolerance word used a whole lot on both sides of the aisle. I’m not sure how other folks define the it, but here’s my take on it…
Intolerance is a spoiled brat that has to have its way.
Intolerance succeeds by dividing and isolating individuals and groups of individuals.
Intolerance divides and isolates by using labels and ridicule.
I won’t have any part of that. And I won’t be afraid of it either.
There will be hard times moving forward in this country I love. And there will always be label hangers. But you’ve got to press on anyway.
Because of love.
And love, yes I do believe LOVE WINS. But it’s a much bigger love than the version sloganized across social media. It’s a love that was designed for ALL of humanity.
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life. Psalm 139:23-24
10 thoughts on “My take on rainbows, faith and fear….”
AMEN Brooke Amen!
Thanks for the encouragement, Lynn 🙂
Brooke, THIS was beautifully written. It had a tone and confidence you must have pulled from within…. You said a lot of what I’ve felt… Thank you very much. Big Hug. And please don’t fear rainbows – God made those too.
Sent from my iPhone (🎺Sue Lamb)
Thank you, Sue. When love is the goal, these things are not easy to write about. I appreciate your encouraging words. And I actually do love rainbows very much 🙂
Brooke, You did an eloquent job of bringing your thoughts to life.
I have read the Bible daily for decades. There are indeed many versions of it…and unless I read it in the original Hebrew, I am aware that someone has given their version to the retelling.
Since God is the only author, who is present while you are reading His Word, I rely on Him to grant me the wisdom to bring light to the passages that He needs me to understand.
There was discussion between my parents about whether people with other lifestyles could be Christians. I was allowed to find my own answer. So, for many years, I was confused but took the wide, safe “Christian” route of dismissing the same sex issue as not okay…upset to see in San Francisco that the rainbow had been chosen as their flag’s colors…how dare they…
Then, as I lived within an emotionally abusive marriage for thirty years, blinded by my own denial, truly never saw it until I was basically flat-lined dead in my soul…My eyes were opened.
Jesus said in Matthew 22:37-40…”Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘ Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments. ” (NIV…New International Version)
I got the first part right … of course, I was/am not perfect by any means…but I was disallowing all the other people…my neighbors, every where, the right to be who God made them to be…and that opened the floodgates to wisdom.
Once I saw the persecution, fear, and profound sadness that I had laid upon my neighbors’ heads because scripture was taken and misconstrued, just as the Pharisees and Sadducees tried to shove their “righteousness rules” (my quotation marks) on the masses, so that the P & S could remain “the holy leaders” and in a position of power over others (which I have discovered is a basic tenant of all abusers). Jesus blew their “rules” right out of the synagogue. In Matthew 12:1-14(NIV), Jesus calls the out the Pharisees and their fear of loss of power drove them to start plotting ” …how they might kill Jesus.”
Because I finally stood up to all the emotional abuse, adultery and betrayal from my husband…I became a divorced woman…and it is very hard to find scripture that condones divorce in the Bible. That label knocked me for another loop…and I was able to truly see how labels can be damaging, when I did not fully know the heart of the person who was labeled.
No one knows what is truly in another’s heart…only God does. He created each and every person on is earth and He has a divine plan for each and every one. He also wants an intimate relationship with each of us…that was Jesus’ “First and Greatest Commandment.”
So now when I see any and all rainbows, I remember that God gave Noah the First Rainbow…He said in Genesis 9:16 (NIV)…”Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.”
God loves all, every single person, on this earth. How can we do any less?
We live in the United States of America. Our pledge says from the very first version in 1892 to the current one “… with liberty and justice for all.” How can we do any less?
In His Love, Marilyn
I thank you so much, Marilyn, for your thoughtful comment and willingly sharing so much of your personal story. There is much you said that I don’t disagree with. There is no doubt that in the Christian community alone, homosexuality is a difficult and divisive subject. It’s a bit of a juggling act – – to live life in a loving manner to all and at the same time be the “salt” and “light” to the world as Jesus commanded. But I don’t have to figure that all out. I just live one day at a time and do my best.
I have a very old Streams in the Desert devotional book. It was given to my great-grandmother in 1940 by my grandmother. My grandmother eventually received it back and then gave it to me. The poor book is falling apart and the pages are ragged and filled with notes by two great ladies who loved God and were a great example to me. I don’t often open it, but today I did. I loved the last sentence for July 6, which said, “It is such a comfort to drop the tangles of life into God’s hands and leave them there”.
We definitely have some “tangles” that only He can sort out. 🙂
I love this and I love love. Very well put and while reading this I feel an echo of my thoughts on a lot of things. I so enjoy your ability to put things into words. Thanks for sharing a piece of you again, Brooke. Hope life is well.
Thanks for your sweet comments, Connie. I appreciate it. Life is well and I trust with you also. At least that is what I hear 🙂
I always enjoy hearing your perspective on life but this was particularly succinct. I appreciate people like you that can articulate and carefully share God’s Word and Truth in such a loving way. The church is in a bind these day. We need more careful, loving folks like you, dear Brooke.
Thanks so much, Karen. You helped me today. Blessings to you 🙂