As I got older, things got more complicated. I started to realize that not all people agree with my beliefs and that even people who are Christians disagree with certain beliefs of other Christians. Suddenly I need to know exactly where I stand on issues that have to do with my faith. Everyone suddenly wants to know what I think about homosexuality and why I go on mission trips and why I believe what I believe. For the first time in my life, I am being asked to defend my faith. I am realizing that some people my age see Christians as hateful people, and I think that's largely because of the media. The Christians shown on T.V. are extreme groups with hateful messages. They march around with signs trying to point out everyone else's sins. They spend astronomical amounts of money and time trying to stop everything they don't agree with. Because of that, when some people learn that I am a Christian, they associate me with those people. They think all Christians are haters.
On the other hand, some people think that Christians need to agree with and support almost everything. They think that if I don't love everything everyone does all the time that I'm not being a good Christian. Thinking about this reminds me of something I remember my mom telling me when I was little. I had gotten sent to my room for something I did, and in all the dramatic glory of a child being punished, I proclaimed that she didn't love me anymore. I don't remember the specific details of this event, but I remember her response. "I still love you, I just don't like your actions right now." What this taught me is that I can love people without liking what they do. It is my job as a Christian to love everyone, not to like everything they do.
I realize that as I get older, my faith will be questioned many times. People will continue to ask me to explain my beliefs, and some people will disagree with them and even laugh at them. There will be some questions that I don't know the answers too. There will be other Christians that I don't agree with. I am in the world, and the world is a place full of conflict. So how am I going to deal with this? Well, I'm not completely sure yet. All I know is that love is the most important thing. There are so many verses about love and how important it is to love one another. So maybe it really is as simple as it seemed when I was a child. If I can learn to be loving while standing by my beliefs, maybe I am headed in the right direction. I don't have it all figured out, and I don't think I ever will, but I do know how to love people.