I know quite a few people. And like I mentioned in my previous post, they are all difficult to understand sometimes.
And for someone like me who's been raised in an almost exclusively Christian environment, it's been pretty eye-opening over the last couple years to realize that not everybody believes the same things I do.
So I came to the conclusion that not agreeing about everything is not necessarily bad. Just because we have different standards about music, dress, relationships, entertainment, etc. doesn't mean that any one of us is any holier than the other.
But that was when I was still interacting only with other Christian young people. However, as my circles have expanded more, I've started getting to know teenagers who believe all kinds of different things. And since we're all young whippersnappers and most of us are pretty proud of ourselves for figuring out what we believe (Ha.), and since naturally everyone wants to know what we think (Ha.), we share our opinions. A lot.
So I've been exposed to all sorts of new things. People I barely know have spoken freely to me about their personal lives and how various occurrences have affected their beliefs. They've asked me what I think and they've told me I'm wrong.
And one thing I've heard from every single young person I've had this sort of discussion with is this: "I'll respect your beliefs if you'll respect mine."
I respect you. I'm sure you're a very nice person with lots of cool hobbies who is super fun to be around. But frankly, I'm not going to respect your beliefs or your attitude about your beliefs.
See, we live in a society that exalts the individual. We've been participation awarded into the belief that there is no standard of excellence. As long as you're okay with yourself, everybody else should sit down and shut up.
I was spanked when I was younger (a lot). I was taught that I'm a sinner by nature. I was told that I was rebelling against my authority and being disrespectful.
This was news to me.
I was definitely pretty okay with myself while I was sassing back my parents and disobeying them.
But you know what? I could have been totally okay with all that and still be sent straight to hell for eternity.
Regardless of the mediocrity our Godless culture force-feeds us, there is a standard of excellence.
For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. (2 Corinthians 5:21)
I don't like being at odds with other people. I would be very much happy if everybody would just love each other and put others first and all those lovely things. But that's not very realistic, is it?
I know you don't want me to judge you for what you believe. But even if I don't, God will.
Demanding a judge-free, respectful attitude from others indicates that you feel like something is wrong with what you believe. Your conscience is bearing witness that any belief that is in disagreement with the Bible is wrong, and your attitude about what you think reflects that.
Everyone will face God someday to be judged, and I don't think that "Well, I was okay with myself" is going to mean much then.
If God is okay with you, then everybody else can sit down and shut up. That's the standard that we should hold ourselves to.
Which is why it's saddening to see that increasing numbers of my peers - even in my Christian social circles - are accepting what society tells them so unquestioningly.
Don't let anybody tell you what to think (except us) - be your own person!
I'm not my own person.
And I'm okay with that.