This Is Where I Sit

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Nichole Forbes -Where I Sit3

I grew up in a church culture full of absolutes—the whole world was black and white, light and dark, us and them. We were taught, with darkness pushing in all around us, we needed to take a stand. Take a stand for Christ. Stand for what is right. Stand as the light in the dark world. Stand against. Against. Against.

The firmer our stand the more Jesus-y we were.

As I’ve matured (aka aged), I’ve come to question this idea of taking a stand. I’ve spent time pondering what really happens when we stand? What message are we communicating, simply by taking this posture? How Christ-like are we really when we’re standing?

When you stand you draw attention to ourself. You declare what you are about (and not about) in the world. You pick a side. You link arms with your like-minded allies. You assert your strength. You declare your righteousness. You face toward your banner, your cause. But as you turn towards your chosen side, who are you turning your back to? When you stand with your people, who are you excluding? When you militantly raise your banner, who are you fighting?

When did Jesus stand? When I look to the Gospel, I see Jesus kneeling to comfort the sick, sitting to hear the story behind the sin, walking beside those on a journey. I see him more concerned about being engaged with the people than with righteously declaring his stand. It was by his life and his love that people understood his character and values—not by othering or taking a holy stand. Jesus was uncompromising in his truth while still opening his heart to relating with every person who crossed his path. So why do we think we must stand so militantly?

It seems to me that when we make these grand declarations and stand so firm in our unwavering opinions, we set ourselves up to fight the very people Jesus calls us to love. Just as he loves us. Our posture causes us to turn our backs on the ones who need to see our face the most, because our face is meant to reflect His face. Our hearts are meant to mirror His.

So, I will not stand with you. Or against you. But I will invite you to sit with me and I will accept your invitation to sit together. 

I will not march in your parade or fly your flag. I will not pick up your banner. I will not bang my drum for your cause. But I will sit here, with you, in this moment, and get to know you. And I will allow you to know me. I will hear your heart, your history, your hopes. I will open my heart to hear you and really see you. I will step into relationship with you.

I have profound convictions and a deep-rooted faith. There are absolutes in my personal faith, but you do not need to share those absolutes in order to share in friendship with me. You don’t. And I hope you feel the same about me. I hope we can come together and build community based on our mutual respect and affection. I hope that when we link our arms we form a safety net for lost souls rather than a wall of separation.

Jesus was, and is, all about the abundant life. There was always room for more with him. The more who came to sit with him, the more room there was for more. There was no cut-off point for who was included with Jesus. No willing heart was ever turned away. There was always, always room to sit. There was always room to know and be known–just as you are.

I believe that’s the gold ticket. That’s the key to the Kingdom. It’s in the knowing of the person. It’s in the laying down our arms, our banners, our preconceived ideas and sitting with each other. It’s in exhaling, relaxing and leaning in. It’s in sitting. It’s in listening and really hearing. It’s in knowing and being known.

I still have my beliefs, the things I know to be true in my gut. But those are mine. We don’t have to think the same to sit here. We don’t have to live the same life, share the same faith or agree on the same theology to be in relationship with each other. We just have to be willing.

So, here I am. Willing. Open. Ready.
Sitting.

Will you sit with me?

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Nichole Forbes
Nichole is just a regular gal loved by an extraordinary God. She believes in community, justice, freedom, reconciliation and the sacredness of storytelling. Her journey to connect with her Metis culture and history has been her own liberation song. She tries to live bravely every day and say the kind words that need to be heard. She raises her three Not-So-Wee-Ones in the middle of the Canadian prairies with her favorite person ever—her husband, Brad. Nichole blogs, writes and speaks on the things that fill her heart and frame her world. 
Nichole Forbes
Nichole Forbes

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