I love, love, LOVE, cookies. And as the old adage goes, "You are what you eat." If that's true, well then, I am a cookie. But I'm not just any cookie. You see, I grew up in New York City and bakeries there are a dime a baker's dozen. So, I have had my fair share of cookies. I can still remember going with my father on Sunday mornings before breakfast to the local bakery. As we opened the door to the bakery shop the warm, sweet aroma of cookies and cakes came wafting over to greet me and welcomed me in. As my father stood in line with his numbered ticket, I would press my nose against the glass and spy all the treats. I would dream of hearing my father say, "Pick anything you want" and I would be ready to give him my order: "One dozen almond crescents, 1 dozen Italian chocolate chip, 1 dozen butter cookies with rainbow sprinkles, 5 dozen Italian rainbow cookies, et cetera. But out of all of them my favorite, favorite one was the black and white cookie.
That's simply what it is called-'the black and white cookie.' You can see why. Now, I am totally serious that this is by far my favorite cookie, but what I have also discovered, and I am sure you have too, is that my personality is, well, pretty much black and white also. Funny huh? Many times I hadn't even realized that I was being unyielding about something. I just know what I know and I stand by it to the bitter end. I don't mean to hurt anyone's feelings or press a situation harder than I ought to - it just happens. I have very definite opinions and beliefs, and there is little that can change the way I see something. I will tell you that I have been called many things because of this character attribute and I'm really okay with all of it, except for one thing - being called judgmental. That has always hurt me deeply. In my heart of hearts I would never want to hurt anyone.
Would you like an example of how black and white I can be? How I can hear or see nothing else but what is in my head? There have been times where I'll get an idea... like... rearranging the furniture in my house. I think, "Things will be more organized," or "It'll give the house a more cozy and welcoming look," or "It'll bring a better traffic flow to the house." Then I get it in my head where everything should go, how it will look, how things will change, and I start getting excited. I'll even draw out the new floor plan. Well, all is wonderful until I have to convince hubby. He'll give me reason after reason why we shouldn't or why it's not the best idea, or how in a month or so I will be tired of it and want something different. He knows that for whatever reason I now must turn the furniture around. So, he not only allows it, he even helps me do it! What can I say? I married a gem. (Every time we move a couch up or down the stairs he'll look at me, from behind his end of the couch, and say, "So, how long will this be in our bedroom now?" and then smile). I'm not trying to be stubborn, really I'm not.
Now, more recently I was actually told, "You are very black and white on the things you believe in." (Golly, I was scared of what was coming next because words like that are usually said as an insult, but my friend said it with so much love and grace that my heart stopped racing). For the first time I felt blessed to have a black and white personality. She said that many people, herself included, find it hard to be confrontational and speak out for what they believe in. She also said, "We need people like you to spur us forward towards God." I really didn't know that by standing by what I believe I was convicting or encouraging anyone. From my past experience I thought that most people found me plain annoying.
I've not always been black and white on every issue or even had an opinion on many things, but as time has marched on with Jesus, my eyes have been opened to the way He sees things and what touches His heart. I remember when I was a teenager and not a Christian, my older sister not only became a Christian, but became an advocate for the pro-life movement. She was a part of peaceful protests, handing out pamphlets, and was even arrested. She started talking to our family about teenage pregnancies and how she was helping the young girls to have their babies and give them up for adoption rather than having an abortion. I sat at the table and thought, "I believe in abortion. I believe that a woman or girl has the right to choose. The baby will ruin her life - she won't finish high school, go to college and her life will never be the same." I thought my sister was ridiculous. A few years later Jesus touched my hard heart. I saw these women or teens with a heart of compassion and the baby that grew within them. I began seeing the unborn as Christ's creation and how very wrong abortion is. "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb." (Psalm 139:13) I've heard many people say, "I don't believe in abortion, but it's okay for you to believe in it." No, abortion is wrong. It's murder. It's not okay for you or me, but with Christ if you have had an abortion there is forgiveness - not punishment, hatred, or abandonment.
Clearly my convictions have grown through the years as I have grown in Christ. I have been more convicted by so many things going on in this world and in raising my children that I have had to think seriously about exactly what I believe and what I want to pass down to them. Many years ago, I never thought twice about using the name of 'Jesus' or phrases like 'Oh my G--'. Seriously, everyone does it, I had grown up hearing it, and TV and film characters say it all the time. But I have been convicted by the Ten Commandments: "You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name." (Deuteronomy 5:11)
I truly love that God is convicting me more and more by His Word and changing me. I am by no means perfect and there is no judgment on anyone else to be perfect. We never will be. The wonderful thing about Jesus is we are asked to uphold the law and the truth written in His Word and yet know that there is the grace of forgiveness when it is broken. Jesus took the punishment for our sin on the cross for us and left us with grace and mercy. Through His grace and forgiveness I believe we are all called to be black and white in our beliefs. "So, because you are lukewarm--neither hot nor cold--I am about to spit you out of my mouth." (Revelation 3:16) In other words we are to be steadfast and faithful in what is true to the Word of God.
I am black and white in what I believe and I'm not ashamed of it. Are you?