Last week, I was catching up with a girlfriend of mine. I just love her because while we don’t agree on everything (and passionately so), she has such a love for God, her family and purpose … the purpose of herself and others. Besides that, there are a couple of other things about her that I really dig. For one, she’s a natural sistah (currently rockin’ locs), we both work in the same field (dealing with sexual abuse, misuse and its consequences) and she has a powerful, powerful testimony about her past, a beautiful tale about her present and a strong focus for her future.
There are so many things that my girlfriend did atypically, which for her is actually pretty typical. One of these examples is how she got married. It was not traditional by any means (I’ll just leave it at that), and a lot of people in her world (at the time) had a lot to say about it. She told me that as she was sharing her disheartenment about certain people’s disapproval, her brother simply said, “Just tell them to eat the cake.”
I love it!
When was the last time someone said, “I want you to try out this new recipe for a cake that I made” and you simply said, “OK”? It’s human nature to be naturally curious, so I’m willing to bet that more times than not you responded with “What’s in it?” Because we are also inclined to be pre-judgmental. I’m also willing to bet that if they told you something like, “Well, it’s a chocolate cake, but there’s zucchini in it” or “It’s a strawberry cake without eggs, sugar or milk,” you would already have a prejudice against it. Many of us would respond by saying, “You can’t make a cake with squash” or “What good is a cake without sugar?” Bottom line, you would spend more time focusing on the ingredients than the end result. You would be so caught up in the traditional way of making a cake or the recipe that you followed that it wouldn’t taste good to you no matter how good it actually was.
Far too often in this life, we are more concerned with the “ingredients” of something than the end result. Because we have a college degree or master’s, we think everyone else should fit into that certain formula to be professionally successful. Because we were divorced at 27, we think no one should be married before 30. Because we were raised with certain religious philosophies, we are not willing to study for ourselves what the Word says concerning what our pastors have taught us. Because we utilize certain tools to work within the church, we denounce the tools others may use to reach those outside of it. Because we don’t understand or enjoy a certain genre of music, we think no one should listen to it. Because our parents taught us that beauty and style came in a certain package, we consider any deviation of that to be “unkept.” Because we had a huge wedding, we don’t think anyone should elope (no Ma, that’s not a hint). Because we have 2.5 children with a white picket fence and two Hondas in the drive, we can’t understand why anyone would want to live their lives without children in a mansion or with four children in a condo.
I could go on and on, but I think you get my point. As a spiritual family, it is vitally important that we not only support and encourage one another, but also hold one another accountable so that we can grow to be responsible believers and individuals. For this reason, yes, I think that departing wisdom is a good thing, sharing God’s Word concerning a certain matter is a good thing, speaking out against wrong and standing up for what’s right is a good (and necessary) thing. But, far too often what we campaign for (or against) in someone’s life is not heaven or hell issues, but simply ones that do not fit our personal life’s checklist. In other words, they are not “ingredients” that we have applied to our lives, and so we don’t understand how they can make a good “cake” for someone else.
You’d be surprised. I know of several couples who are happily married without children and have far surpassed the marriages of some others I know who had a houseful of kids. Ironically, I currently have more friends without a formal education who are more successful than those with one. In choosing to think “outside of the box,” I have interviewed many people who have reached non-believers in a very intimate and lasting way because they choose to not quote the King James Version of the Bible in every conversation or rock the “WWJD” bracelet everywhere they go. Sure their methods or ingredients may differ from others, but the end result is that they are all living happy, accomplished and fulfilled lives. Their “cake” is still just as good as anyone else’s.
This week, as you encounter various individuals, before you speak up or out into their lives, ask God to first grant you with wisdom. Ask Him to help you discern if what you are about to say is to influence your agenda being accomplished in this earth or God’s. If you are unclear about a certain matter, look it up in the Word before you start looking them up and down in disapproval. You’d be amazed how many things we believe and/or live out are not scripturally sound, just verbally loud.
Be willing to be open-minded. There are so many characters in the Bible because there is more than one formulaic way to live on this earth.
And if you are someone who is “going against the grain,” first make sure that you have everything checked off the list above, and if you do, stop defending or being offended. If God is for you, who can be against you?
Just tell them to “Eat the cake" and make sure it’s worth eating.