When I was born, my parents named me Allison, which means “little truthful one,” and doomed me to a life of extreme honesty.
I’ve seen for a while that truly being honest with myself and others is so freeing. Not just for me, but for those around me, who frequently feel the same way but are either afraid to say it or don’t know how to express it. But since I’ve been here, God has REALLY been showing me that my honesty is a gift.
On Monday, when I was talking to Johnny about nerd things, it came up that I grew up in a non-trinitarian ministry and am currently struggling to understand who Jesus Christ is. I had already told several people here this, and had been surprised and impressed by their reactions, which were generally along the lines of, “Keep praying about it, welcome to a really cool journey.” No one tried to shun me or immediately get rid of me. Cool.
Johnny called me a heretic. Guess he’s honest too.
(To clarify, he didn’t point at me and yell, “Heretic!” He’s a kind man. He just presented an assortment of heretical beliefs and asked which one I believed.)
I didn’t really think it bothered me that much. But then it started really bothering me. That whole night I managed to convince myself that the next morning in class Johnny was going to get up there in front of the class and call me out by name and have everyone lay hands on me and pray for me to see the light or something. It was ridiculous. I can be ridiculous, I admit it. But ugh the adversary can be so convincing once he’s got us trapped in his web. Tuesday morning I was actually to the point of dreading class. Had a brief shower chat with God and He told me in no uncertain terms that I am not to let the enemy silence my honesty with fear. I had bared my heart honestly, and I needed to trust Him to honor that. So I calmed down and went to class.
And guys, the first thing Johnny does is get up in front of class and start talking about how some questions after class yesterday made him think that maybe we needed to just go over the trinity a bit and he called me out by name. My worst nightmare was actually happening. I almost melted.
We were then subjected to trinity 101 for not one, but two class periods. I had really been trying not to think about the subject because it had been dominating my thoughts since day one and preventing me from hearing other truth. Mariana had recommended (wisely) that I for goodness sake stop dwelling on it, chill out, and let God work in my heart on His schedule. Excellent advice. Difficult to follow when you’re being subjected to specific lectures on the trinity. Anyway, the trinity lectures ended up releasing pandemonium in class and actually kind of ended up being a good thing because I had several revelations.
First, everyone is pretty much in the same boat. Trinitarians don’t really get it. They know there’s the Father, the Son, and they Holy Spirit, they’re super connected and interrelated, they’ve all been declared God, and no one is sure how it works. There were so many questions both days, that they eventually had to be cut off so we could go on with class. I’m going to perhaps maybe make some of my followers mad here and promise you that non-trinitarians don’t get it either though. Not by a long shot. One read-through of the New Testament without a Way filter on made that incredibly clear. (That happened this summer, way before YWAM, as a note.) Turns out the concept of God might be bigger than we can fully grasp. Go figure.
Romans 11:33 (ESV)
33 Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!
So at least we’re all confused together. Honestly, it’s really pretty cool walking with God and letting Him teach me things, knowing that I have nothing to fear. He’s made it clear that He loves all of us here so so so so so much already. Obviously, we don’t have to fully “get it” to earn His love, salvation, or favor. Cool.
Second, the definition of “heresy” is based on orthodox Christianity, which is based on the Nicene Creed, which is not the scripture. I feel like that word terrified me originally because I really felt like it meant I was basically blaspheming God in some way. But no, just going against orthodoxy. I tell you what, if that’s all I’m violating by believing what I believe, than I can be a happy heretic. I’ll gladly take my place alongside Galileo, Tyndale, and Luther in opposition to the church if I believe I’m standing firmly on scripture. That’s not to say I want to, mind you. I would certainly prefer not to, but if it comes to a choice between what I believe the scripture says to be true and what the church says to be true, I’m gonna stick with scripture. That being said, what I believe is very fluid at the moment as I check and recheck what I grew up with. I don’t want to take ANYONE’S word for it anymore, and to be honest, the Bible can be darned hard to understand. So this whole thing is going to be quite a long process. But it’s again good to know I have nothing to be afraid of. At least you can’t be burned at the stake for heresy anymore…
Third, I really don’t need to fear my honesty. Even my worst nightmare didn’t end up being that bad. Nobody looks at me funny or anything haha.
So I survived my nightmare situation. But I was still kind of terrified that Johnny sort of didn’t like me or looked at me and only saw “heretic” stamped on my forehead. I tried to shake the feeling because I knew it wasn’t true, he’s a cool guy. But this was genuinely impeding my time here. I had the feeling he was going to walk up to me at some point and have a serious chat about how maybe I should really talk to God and consider that I may not belong here. Or that he would just silently judge me for three months. Or warn all the staff against me. Or something. I don’t know. Anyway, Thursday we had this time where we asked God to reveal to us what our heart looked like that day. He showed me immediately that mine was cloaked and shrouded by fear. Yikes. I knew I had to talk to Johnny and be honest again. I asked God to give me an open door.
When class was over I gathered my things to get up and leave, and I turned around and Johnny was right there with his little boy Liam (who is the cutest kid ever). And I cooed at Liam a bit and Johnny smiled and I realized, “Crap, this is my open door” and took a deep breath and apologized. He was surprised and asked what I was sorry about. I told him I’d been avoiding him and assuming the worst of him since Monday. I told him that I feared that he only saw “heretic” stamped on my forehead when he looked at me. He was shocked! Of course. He thought nothing like that and is so excited to have me here and loved that I was honest with my questions and that they opened up room for so many others. Relationship restored!
Honesty. Honesty. Honesty. It’s just “so good” (as everyone says here, always). I’ve found sooooo many times that if I am not completely honest, that’s when the enemy starts to be able to get to me. He can keep impressions or phrases or misunderstandings wearing and wearing and wearing until you form a completely false idea of a person or situation. All can be restored with honesty. No fear!