I looked around the circle at the four faces of my nervous band mates. It was our first official “show” and we were terrified. I loved singing in the shower, but in front of PEOPLE? I was terrified. The head of our band, Terry, said an amazing inspiring speech reminding us that we were doing this for the glory of God and not for us. Terry always knew what to say. He was the spiritual leader of our youth group and I always aspired to know and love God like he did. Terry prayed over us and we walked onto the stage to lead worship for our very first church.
That’s one of my favorite memories. It was 2003 and I was an insecure 16 year old. I learned a lot from Terry, watching him as he lead our worship band that year. Lots of time has passed and sadly Terry has walked away from God. Seeing his posts start to change on Facebook and hearing him talk about it was heartbreaking. He was the one person I thought would always pursue the Lord. He went off to several colleges and started to reason his way out of religion. He wants nothing to do with God or the church now.
It breaks my heart and confuses me all at once to see Terry’s new outlook on life. A few weeks ago he posted something on Facebook about Christianity that really angered me. For the first time in a long time I started writing a personal message to him. There was so much anger in my words that I got halfway done and realized I could never send it. Arguing wasn’t going to do anything but make him argue back. It might even make him angrier at Christians. So I prayed and deleted everything I had written.
I started a new message by saying, “I’m sorry on behalf of the church.” Looking back there were a lot of things wrong with the Christianity Terry and I were taught growing up. There was plenty of hypocrisy in our church and I knew no one had every apologized to him for what our church got wrong. So I wanted to show him love instead of argue with him.
Terry finally wrote me back this week and to my surprise, he showed me love and grace right back. He said he was tempted to argue why he thought there were holes in some of my ways of thinking but that he knew it wouldn’t get us anywhere. We ended things on amazing terms and now the lines are still open for communication between us as God continues to work.
God showed me in that Facebook message that responding with love and grace is the best way to handle people. It’s how he ALWAYS handles us. As much as we all love to argue our points, maybe it’s time we put down our swords and learn to respond with love.