Years ago, I invited a male friend, who I enjoyed very much and spent quite a bit of time with, to be my plus one to a holiday party. I knew the party attendees would be well-to-do and a bit more influential than our normal sports club acquaintances and the day of the party, I found myself displeased with what my friend had available to wear. I decided it called for a quick shopping spree for something more suitable. After an hour or more of shopping and a bit of frustration on my friend’s part, he turned to me and said, “I just won’t go”. It was at that very moment, I was overcome with shame and realized not only how shallow I was acting but how I was trying to change my friend to become so that he could belong as I saw fit.
In this world, we are most comfortable with those who believe as we believe. We form groups of like-minded people; clubs, associations, churches and political parties that require us to believe like them, become like them so that we can belong to them. We work to force our own choices and beliefs on others believing that their life will be better when they believe like us. The truth is, their life will be better because they belong to us regardless of how they believe.
When I find myself slipping back to requiring someone else to believe or become what I think they should believe or become, I stop and remind myself that because God has put them in my path, they immediately belong to me, God will help them to believe what they need to believe and become what He has destined them to become. Following this path of nonjudgement is not always easy for me, but when I do it right, my joy is expanded and I am blessed.
If you are wondering, my friend, who luckily remained my friend, went with me and was the life of the party. His same dynamic personality and winning smile that I loved performed the same magic on the people who attended the party, regardless of what he was wearing.
People need to belong. Go Boldly and keep your eyes open for the next person God sends to belong to you.