Mark 9:24 KJV “And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.”
When asked a question, my youngest has taken to responding with, “I believe” or “I believe not,” prior to giving her answer. This puzzled me. I finally had to ask, Where did the “believe/believe not” originate? (Especially after I caught myself saying “I believe” quite a bit.) Well, it came from one of her YouTube videos, go figure!
Then I had a thought, what do I really know about what I believe and believe not? What do I believe and believe not? Are the lines always so clear? Can we always so clearly state: I believe ________. I do not believe ________. For my daughter, she answers my every question with what she believes or believes not… Why as adults, it is not quite this simple? The older we become, when we are more sure of ourselves (smile), more sure of our faith, more sure of who we are – we waver to say what we believe, what we believe not. Is it really so challenging?
I have no problem confessing my love for God. Nor my belief that Jesus lived, died, and resurrected. I have no problem expressing my belief that He is coming back again. I have no problem expressing my thoughts regarding God’s love, His forgiveness – because I am a living testimony and a beneficiary of His grace, love and forgiveness.
But, I have had to ask myself… If I believe that heaven is real and hell is hot, why haven’t I told my friends, family, neighbors – everyone I meet about this truth that I know? Do I believe not? Is it my fear that they will believe not me? Who said it was about me?! It’s not. Foolish pride.
“If you judge people, you have no time to love them.” ~Mother Theresa
There is a quote that I read on Facebook or Pinterest somewhere, that says something to the effect that we often encounter people that are fighting larger battles than we. This struck me. On a scale of terrible to perfect, I’d rate my life as, not too shabby (take that to mean whatever you want it to mean). I thought of a former coworker – who was rather cranky, while I was rather depressed. (This anecdote is from several years ago, hope you don’t mind! It’s completely relevant.) In any case, here I was lamenting my ex leaving me (again), then our divorce. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to anyone, even himself, this coworker was battling cancer. Thanksgiving 2016, he was rushed to the hospital in pain, and was not released for months. After months of treatment, he returned to work, a completely different person. Pain – physical and/or emotional, even when we don’t know we are in pain causes us to behave and react outside of our norm.
What we may believe about someone, despite what our observations may tell us, can be absolutely false. I am sure we have all been victims of this unfortunate situation at least once in our lives. So, to answer my earlier question: If I believe heaven is real and hell is hot, why haven’t I told my friends, family, neighbors – everyone I meet about this truth I know? Sometimes I think it’s the false belief that “they already know” or “they don’t want to know” or “someone else will tell them.” Should I really dare to play such a dangerous game? There are times when I just need someone to reach out to me… Others, I believe, are not much different.
Believe or Believe not, we are all quite the same. Learning to live this life, learning to love one another as Christ teaches, learning to love ourselves. I believe we cannot do it on our own. I believe we need each other. Choose to believe me or believe not, at some point in our journeys, we all need someone – at some point, we all need God.