All Christians are taught through every sermon, lesson, and song that they hear --- not to be afraid of information, knowledge, awareness, discernment, life-measurement, critical examination, uncovering faults and flaws. Considering what might be true, or important, of value, of worth, what might be applicable or on point.
We read the Holy Bible every day and it is filled with with bad news and Good News about us -- and everybody else in the World. On every page there are laws, rules, statutes, commands, commandments, orders, instructions, revelations, and observations.
We believe that the Bible is God's Word - and that through it He is trying to show us what is wrong with us, and what is wrong with the world. He wants to save us, but before He can we have to be aware of the danger, of the need, of the problem.
The Bible calls itself a Mirror - and it is not always kind, or gentle, and it does not always show us what we want to see.
Yes, I know that we are most often criticized by other people when we measure THEM. We do appear to be crossing a line when we thrust OUR Mirror into THEIR faces. When we show THEM what the Bible not only says about US, but what it says about ALL People.
It is thought to be one thing when we choose to examine, sift, measure, weigh, and judge OURSELVES --- but quite another thing when we foist that same philosophy or belief or approach to life upon OTHERS.
I get it.
And some Christians use what they consider to be Truth as a weapon, or a cudgel, or a blunt object. The Truth CAN cause harm, it can damage, it can curse, and it can damn. We ourselves know and have felt all of these painful effects.
But in most cases (I know in mine), we just see you dancing too close to the edge.
We truly believe that you might be heading down the wrong road.
The bridge is out. The food is poison. The building is on fire.
I guess that any unsolicited advice, statement, negative word or contrary opinion might be unwelcome at all times - if such things never had the slightest potential of diverting someone from disaster, or catastrophe, or calamity.
But most Christians are just very grateful - that someone said something to them that needed to be examined. Something that was different than what we believed or what we wanted to believe or even hear. Someone told us their Truth. Someone held a Mirror up to our face. Someone told us that our slip was showing, our zipper was unzipped, our makeup was smeared, our hose had a run, there was toilet paper stuck to our shoe. Our hair was sticking up in the back and our socks didn't match.
They were not trying to hurt us, they were trying to help us.
Yes, it embarrassed us. It made us mad. It called us out, it called our hand, sometimes it called a spade a spade. Sometimes it was wrong, or I chose to judge it so.
But - ultimately I am glad for all of the contrary words that have been poked at me from the mouths of critics, teachers, coaches, parents, grandparents, professors, preachers, teachers, and prophets throughout my life.
I am no longer afraid of hearing anyone's Truth. I may never make it MY Truth, but I am willing to hear all of it.
Quote your scriptures and Holy Writings to me. Tell me about your beliefs and all of its teachings. Show me how I compare, how I fall short by its standards. Show me the error of my ways, the difference between your ways and mine.
Share your political platforms, your scientific proofs, your moral treatises. I do not fear them. I am not offended by them. I welcome them.
If I tell you to go away and leave me alone - I expect you to comply. If you send me away, I will go and be silent. I will never be forced to expose myself to your words, and I have no desire to force what matters to me upon you.
But if I believe that the building is on fire, I'm probably going to tell everybody in the building. The building may NOT be on fire. That is up to you to decide. Don't dismiss me as a lunatic until you have examined the halls and smelled for smoke. Don't be angry that I woke you up for a false alarm, though I guess it really is none of my business.
Here is some unsolicited advice (but you ARE reading my words): Don't dismiss anyone who wants to interact with you. Be careful. On your guard. Don't believe everything that you hear or see. But listen, weigh, sift, sort, examine, test, try, discern, discriminate, judge.
The building may actually be on fire.