So I am at the gym this morning and in a complete morning stare… you know the stare… the stare that lasts forever and everything else around you doesn’t matter. I was in one of those, staring at the news, and half listening to my iPod, and a story about our President’s stimulus package comes on. I’m not sure why I did what I did next but I just blurted out, “That’s retarded!” Well all political views aside right now… I usually don’t voice any type of opinion in public like that and the one time I do this big guy working out next to me, let’s call him ‘Muscles’, asks, “What’s retarded?” … Oh great… here we go.
Well I began to explain myself and that conversation led to another conversation which led to another conversation which resulted in me finding out Muscles is an atheist. It was a really weird conversation first thing in the morning and one I was completely caught off guard with.
The thing that I noticed most is how completely awkward I felt. I was listening to what he was saying and then thinking of a way to fire back to prove my point but halfway through I realized that I am not what I am trying to defend. What I mean is, just because he did not agree with what I believed does not mean that I have to defend myself. He wasn’t disagreeing with me personally. He just didn’t like what I stood for. So here I was “in a war within a war.” I was defending what I believed against Muscles but also battling within… the pride of self-preservation vs. the second command of Jesus… love your neighbor as yourself.
So within this split second I changed my demeanor, shut my mouth, and just listened to Muscles. He then walked away did a couple more sets and came back over to explain why he didn’t believe in God. He went on to tell me that he had a bad experience at church when he was a kid so he went his own way and did a lot of reading and felt like God didn’t make sense (he’s right in a way! Isaiah 55:8) I spoke as well as I could to that issue but ultimately I didn’t want to ruin my chances to speak into his life in the future so I just mainly listened. We then talked about our daughters, Disneyworld, and supplements. I just decided that I have nothing to defend and truly listened to what Muscles had to say. The thing is, I could have totally screwed this up by being a loudmouth arrogant jerk and defending my point but I venture to say it would have built a wall instead of a bridge.
Hopefully, because I dropped my defense and opened my ears, God will give me another opportunity to SHOW the love of Christ to Muscles again by just listening.
ha ha but who knows maybe he’s blogging about the right-wing, preacher, nutjob he ran into at the gym this morning!
Do you feel like you have to defend yourself?