Growing up in the CoG7 is not always easy. Sometimes you are faced with difficult questions from friends. It can be hard to explain to friends why you cannot eat certain foods or why you don’t celebrate some holidays. I have had many experiences with this, but I want to share only one as an example.
Last year I applied for a pen pal through a Christian organization. I was paired with a girl who was just a month younger than I. I was excited to build a friendship with her. We sent several letters to each other talking about all sorts of things: our families, our houses, our hobbies, our favorite things, and lots more. We even discussed Halloween and agreed that it’s wrong to celebrate.
When it was Christmastime, she asked me if I was excited about Christmas. I answered with a “no” and said I didn’t celebrate it. That made her angry, and she wrote a letter to me listing the reasons I should celebrate Christmas. I replied that I couldn’t change my mind, then wrote a normal letter. She went ahead with normal letters for a while.
A few months later, I received a letter from this girl saying that she didn’t want to be pen pals anymore due to “too many differences in our spiritual beliefs.” I was shocked. I wrote back asking her to please reconsider, but she wouldn’t. We are not pen pals anymore.
So what do you do when someone does something like this to you? Do you retaliate with some statement like, “I never wanted to be friends anyway,” or do you just let it go? I would recommend just letting it go and not worrying about it. Then you could pray for God to help you forgive that person who hurt you. Like Luke 6:37c says, “Forgive, and you will be forgiven.”
This situation is also about sticking to what you believe and not being conformed to the world. A good scripture about this is Romans 12:2a: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind” (ESV). It’s important to know what you believe and why. When people hurt us about our beliefs, we need to show them mercy and forgiveness. If we remember how much Christ has forgiven us, this will be easy. As Jesus said in Luke 11:4a, “And forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us.” We have to remember how much we have been forgiven in order to forgive.