Convictions

Depending on our convictions, all of our priorities will differ. I have a few close friends whose priorities of eating healthy are at the top of his list; so high that they were willing to make massive lifestyle changes to live in tune with his convictions. This confuses a lot of people, including myself at times, because I have no idea where they are coming from. My strongest convictions don’t lie with what I put in my body, but rather who I interact with and how those interactions work. But who is to say either are more important? I have a lot of respect for these friends because they are the most pro-active people I know when it comes to how they should live.

Some convictions baffle me. Some people biggest concern is that gays don’t get married. Some is that all their friends made it to church last Sunday. I do believe that convictions give us a peak into each other’s life and the journey we are on. My convictions change constantly. I remember throwing out (deleting) all my secular music because I thought it wasn’t honoring God. I remember kicking someone off a worship team because she was dating an unbeliever. I remember watching in awe as Christians I respected said fuck or shit. I remember being heart broken when I found out someone close to me tried pot. I remember thinking less of someone because they drove a Hummer. I remember feeling a touch of superiority when I saw someone wearing an expensive brand name. I remember being pissed off at mega churches.

It is these feeling and passions that fuel my existence, whether or not they are valid or true. One of the biggest lessons in life will be learning to appreciate people’s convictions while not assuming that if they aren’t following yours they are in the wrong. For some reason we see other people’s convictions as threats against our own. Or we feel the need to hold everyone to our own convictions. I don’t think either way is right. We need to learn to appreciate and value people’s convictions and if anything let them be a peep hole into their life. And we need to learn that our convictions say a lot about us and where we are at and that not everyone is on the same page. Not everyone cares.

Convictions can be beautiful things. They make us who we are and they give us something to passionate about. They help us prioritize our lives and help us be better people. They aren’t to be used for guilt but rather for freedom. Keep this in mind next time you are weirded out by someone else’s convictions. Remember that their convictions don’t govern your life but knowing them and valuing them will help you be a better neighbour.

5 Comments

  • Nathan,
    I’m curious about what you mean by your use of the two words, appreciate and value.
    Appreciate means (1) To think well of; value, enjoy, esteem. (2) to recognize gratefully. (3) To estimate the quality or worth of. (4) To estimate rightly. (5) To be fully or sensitively aware of; notice with discrimination. The word value means to (1) estimated or appraised worth or price (2)The worth of a thing in money (3) That quality of a thing according to which it is thought of, as being more or less desirable, useful, estimable, important, worth; or the degree of worth. (7) That which is desirable or worthy of esteem for its own sake, thing or quality having intrinsic worth.
    You stated in your comments about conviction that we are to appreciate and value others people’s convicitons. How can I do this if thier convictions are contrary to God’s word. If I were to follow along with your train of thought, you are asking me to think well of and esteem convictions that are opposite of what God says. A person whose convictions allow them to participate in behaviors that defy God’s word are not to be esteemed or thought highly of. I can say that God values the person, but not the the behaviors or convictions of that person. Absolutely, one’s convictions allow us to peep into the thyier world; however thier world and ways of thinking are in conflict with the ways of God and the Kingdom of God. I am told to respect all peopl; but that does not mean that I am endorse, condone or embrace those things that God has said are wrong.

  • If I had to define my words, here it is

    Appreciate – recognize with gratitude, or to be fully and sensitively aware of
    Value – to prize: hold dear; (ie. “I prize these old photographs”) or respect

    You write your comment about my words appreciate and value, and then at the end you say you are not told to endorse, condone or embrace, which seem to be different words to me and obviously mean different things.

    I think you can appreciate and value people and their perspectives, because they are different and because we probably will never understand where they are coming from. I’m not saying to endorse, encourage or congratulate wrongdoing.

    The Christian world has just gone too far in the wrong direction in my opinion. Not endorsing has turned into hating and not embracing things that are wrong turned into not embracing people that are doing the wrong. That is the reason I write a post like this because I think Christians need to learn to embrace, value and love people without always having the postscript every single time BUT DON’T EMBRACE THE SIN. What would it look like if we spent all of our energy embracing people instead of not embracing what they are doing?

  • DVV,

    You seem to be convinced that your understanding of God’s word is complete: “How can I do this if their convictions are contrary to God’s word.”

    To say that you *completely* understand God’s word, or better yet, God, is to cheapen God and His word. His ways are above ours, so maybe as you read the scriptures from your 21st century Christian viewpoint you miss some of what God is saying. What do you think?

    Grace and peace.

    JT

  • Nathan,

    Well said. Although I don’t often hide my “guilt ridden” convictions from others (and even push a little harder to dominate the conversation to make those who are not sure, pick a side), I do totally agree with granting grace to those who are not convicted by the same issues that I am. However (as I get up on my soap box), you might be surprised at how much the things that you put in your body affect your interactions with others. Anything that you absorb into your body affects how you relate to things, how you carry yourself, and how you reaction to things (as well as every possible aspect of your life). I believe that you can still interact with others on a sub-standard level (when compared to how you could be performing) but I would like to think that we could always be better (not worse…why focus on that?…..to make us “thankful” perhaps)

    However I do understand that the same could be the same for us. We probably don’t interact with certain people and do interact with certain other people based soley on the style of life that we have chosen.

    So really, in the end, it all pans out. But in the middle, why not let our black and white convictions hang out on the line for all to appreciate, ridicule (my, my, is that a shit stain on those skivies?), admire (oooh, look at the contrasting colours), or just flat out ignore (sure is sunny out, eh)

    I do at times feel apologetic for chanelling a dogmatic attitude to any new question that I have and presenting it as a prophet with a piece of objective Truth that everyone needs to listen to. But then I realize that the change that we see happen in others comes from those who sit on the sidelines quietly listening to me pointlessly debating with someone who I know will not change on account of me (or listening to Stefani much more gracefully educate), and afterwards they come with questions.

    I can’t say this has happened a lot but it’s something that I see happening as this continues and as I revise my tacts (not like I have a world domination strategy or anything.

    I don’t know if this related to what ou wrote at all but just wanted to wrtie to say, well done.

    Dave

  • Jonathan,

    I don’t recall anywhere saying that I completely understand God, nor God’s word. What I do know is that in the scriptures God is pretty direct about certain thing and I am not aware that he has changed His way of thinking. Is He not the same yesterday, today and forever? If He is the same, so is His word. It’s the same word for today as it was for the first century Christians. I don’t believe that the message changes, but the method has.

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