Saturday, March 3, 2018

Deal Breaker

Post by: Theresa Mazza

What side of the issue are you on? What do you stand for? What are your core values?

These questions are quickly becoming the litmus test for friendship and connection. Answer any of these questions wrong or hint at the wrong answer and you may be looking at a deal breaker. Our differences have somehow become unforgivable sins. You believe coffee should be enjoyed black? Deal breaker. You believe the most recent Star Wars movies are better than the original Star Wars movies? Deal breaker. Seems like an extreme position, right?

Agreeing to disagree may be a thing of the past. Now, I know the examples above don’t really represent the most serious deal breakers of our time but you get what I’m saying. The space to coexist with those who have different values or views is getting smaller and smaller with each passing day. Have we deemed our differences unforgivable offenses against friendship and community?

Is it okay for us to have such little space in our lives for those who challenge us to our core?

Maybe it’s okay when there is no potential for a civil and meaningful conversation. Maybe it’s okay if we seriously feel our life is in danger. Maybe it’s okay if nothing productive can take place and both parties are achieving nothing.

But maybe it’s not okay if we just don’t like being uncomfortable. Maybe it’s not okay if we’ve become addicts of “being right.” Maybe it’s not okay if we’re playing God and self-determining what is a sinful act and what is not.

So how much space should there be to coexist and even potentially respect and love those “other” people? Well, how much space has God allowed for us to abide in him in all of our sinfulness and imperfection?

In the book of Matthew, Peter asked Jesus, “how many times should I forgive a brother or sister who hurts me? Seven? Jesus replied, “Seven! Hardly. Try seventy times seven.”

So maybe we can create more space for one another in our hearts. Next time you face a deal breaker, remember the space Jesus creates in his reply to Peter. 70 X 7!

If we can forgive someone 490 times (okay Jesus is amazing so let’s cut that number in half because we aren’t Jesus, if we can forgive someone 245 times, nope that’s still too much for me, let’s cut that in half again, if we can forgive someone 122 times) maybe that gives us enough space to see them through the eyes of Jesus and to love them as we love ourselves.

Theresa is a youth advocate, writer and speaker, as well as the Volunteer Coordinator for Hope House of Colorado, an organization empowering teenage moms to strive for personal and economic self-sufficiency. She sings with BUMC's worship team and is married to Worship Arts Director, Joe Mazza. 

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