There are times when a person feels lonely in this world and for some they feel lonely every day. Unlike the type of loneliness people describe when feeling physically alone (being single, etc), this is a type of loneliness that is present even in the mist of being constantly surrounded by friends and family. In this violate, hostile world, loneliness is inevitable if you choose not to be a part of it. If you have faith you passionately stand for you can’t expect to feel a part of this world or to be accepted by it. To the world you are unusual and out of the ordinary with idealistic morals. The biggest ‘outcasts’ have morals that go against the standard of the world: dignity to their souls, purity to their body, and wholeness in their hearts. Unfortunately to feel tension in this place is part of living in it, there should be no surprise when rejection, intolerance, hurt and disrespect are thrown at you – there are people who are opposed to what you stand for. It’s not because anything is wrong with you or what you stand for, but because of what Jesus told us would happen all along.
Four years ago I wrote the passage above during a difficult time in my life when I felt I was fighting a good fight among a lot of pressure to do just the opposite. I was surrounded by so many good intentioned and supportive people, all with a hundred different opinions of what I should and shouldn’t do. Some of those opinions were validated to ensure that I had the best outcome for any wrong that had been done against me or aimed to hurt anyone who was deemed deserving of such hurt. This was conflicting to me, as it should be.
Although this life experience of mine pales in comparison to many I believe it was a time in my life that helped me with tolerance and grace for those deemed undeserving by society. It has challenged me to question the times where I fail and judge without grace. We so quickly judge without thought yet are hurt when others judge our own decisions with misunderstanding. Sometimes the only way to get over self-woes or dark times is to battle it in joy and love – actions that are often misunderstood in this world. Doing right is criticized as much as doing wrong, there is no perfect way to meet the standards of anyone. I accepted years ago that I was okay with being misunderstood, it gave me a greater understanding and compassion for those who truly struggle with loneliness or feeling like an outcast.
Nearly everything I believe conflicts with the culture around me and I desperately need my mind renewed on a daily basis. When I predictably fail, my faith needs to rise up stronger through my knowledge of humility and grace. The fact is I don’t really “fit in” by a lot of people’s standards but the truth is, I don’t really want to. This is where real grace and love prevails.
“For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.”
Romans 14: 7-9