Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Selfishness (02/14/05)
TITLE: Am I a Bigot?
By Michael Wilmot
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I suspect no one will measure up to what I think she deserves. I empathize towards boys who will see me on date nights. I hope the experience will be as uncomfortable for them as it will for me. I also believe that my wife and I have a place in this process and we plan to be there.
I spoke with a friend on this because talking makes things real. He has daughters of comparable age and I thought we would have similar views. However we debated more than I had expected. He challenged me on the extent of my role in this part of her life. Neither of us wanted our daughters with drug addicts or violent men. When I shared I would prefer she choose Christian boys I was hit with the bigot label for having faith as part of a standard.
I tried to explain why faith is central to decisions like this but did not have the words to express why in a way that he could accept. In a way this misunderstanding represents the division between those who walk towards Christ and those that do not. We are in many ways strangers with language barriers.
It is not religion but faith that matters to me. A Christ voided life is lived for our own pleasure. When I lived outside of God’s authority I was the center of everything. I worked to create wealth for me to be used by me. If a job did not suit me I could leave it and seek one with better pay. I gave to charities to feel good about myself, to garnish the respect of others and to grow relationships that benefited me. I gave when I wanted and found excuses to not give when I did not.
I dated women because of what they could give me. When relationships grew tense I left and never looked back. My marriage has not always been easy and what kept me from divorce on some occasions was my own pride instead of love for her. When my children came I began to see that there was more to life than my own needs. I tried to be a good parent and my quest to understand where love comes from led me to Christ.
Looking at my life without Christ I am ashamed of its self-centeredness. My decisions hinged on what was best for me. A life with Christ is so much more than a religion or a faith or a moral code. It is lived with the understanding of higher objectives than personal satisfaction. With Christ everything has an impact into eternity and that acceptance will humble the proudest fool.
My children and wife are gifts from God that He expects me to return to Him. I have deeper responsibilities than raising babies into adults or providing for my family. I must show by example that Christ lives. I pray consistently that I never stand before God in judgment without my babies. I am learning to love my wife as Christ loved the church, without condition or limit.
Resisting simple tithing has evolved into tithes and offerings transcending money. ‘Giving is better than receiving’ and obligations of good stewardship has become real. In looking beyond me and to the cross I see the true value in earthly things. I see how each day is a gift from God and my gift is in work that glorifies Him. In the workplace I have chances to share the ministry of Christ with others. I can demonstrate an example of service and encouragement to my coworkers.
The type of man I would choose for my daughter is one who has accepted his proper place in the scheme of things; a man that is honest enough to see truth, strong enough to accept it and loving enough to share it. I pray she sees that Christian faith is the pivot for selfishness with selflessness and would desire that above all. If that makes me a bigot, so be it.
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