Why “Small” Sins are So Dangerous

I am thirteen years old, sitting in a church pew with a friend and our youth pastor who has recently proposed to his girlfriend. My friend and I are gushing over the fairytale we imagine their romance to be. “Why don’t you have a ring, though?” my friend asks. I am horrified. Of course he doesn’t have a ring. That’s not how engagement works. How could she possibly ask such a silly question? What is wrong with her?

I am seventeen years old, riding in the back of a friend’s car. There are four of us together, maybe five. The details are vague now, where we are going, what we are doing, who has crushes on whom, but one feeling and one interaction are crystal clear. A friend casually, comfortably asks a question about something she does not understand, admitting her ignorance on an unimportant topic. My heart rate skyrockets. Doesn’t she know that not knowing is humiliating? Does she not feel the shift in the universe that I do when uncertainty is made public? What is wrong with her?

I am twenty-three years old, taking notes in a meeting at work. Afterwards, a co-worker comes over to my desk to talk to me about the discussion. She interprets something our boss had stated and I am shocked. I heard nothing of the sort. She turns out to be right, and I am internally knocked off-kilter. My sense of self-worth plummets; I am defensive and guarded for the rest of the day. How could I have sat in the same room and misunderstood the conversation? What is wrong with me?

It’s likely that none of these stories have led you to think, “Well, Abby, you were sinning. That’s what’s wrong with you.” After all, I was not actively intending to hurt anyone in any of these situations. In fact, in the first two, I wanted to protect my friends, or at least that’s what I told myself.

Keeping reading at iBelieve

New Podcast Episode: Hopefully Resisting Despair in the Face of Racial Tragedies

The fourth episode of My Sista’s Keeper: Shalom in the City’s Monthly Conversation on Race & Unity is available now.

On this episode of My Sistas’ Keeper, Osheta and I discuss how to hopefully resist the spirit of despair when talking about race, specifically on social media. We share our honest, raw emotions about the Philando Castile verdict and the killing of Charleena Lyles. We also discuss Scripture about despair and respond to listener questions about to respond to race-related tragedies and police brutality:

How should Shalom Sistas talk to their children, students, etc., about these events?

What should a Shalom Sista do if her church is silent in the face of injustice?

How can white Shalom Sistas be allies right now?

Is there a way for Shalom Sistas to engage with their local police departments to talk about racial profiling, etc.?

How can Shalom Sistas leverage whatever platform they have (blog, community office, leadership position, ministry, relationships) to shed light on these tragedies and say what needs to be said?

What are you longing to hear spoken or named–what do you think God is longing to hear spoken or named from pulpits?

We mention:

We want to know what you think about this episode and what this conversation has you thinking about: Come join us on Facebook at the Shalom Sistas’ Hangout and share your thoughts!

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Want more Shalom in your life? 

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You can join the Shalom in the City conversation over in our Shalom Sista’s Hangout, as well as on Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. Hope to see you in some of these Shalom Spaces!

Is it Possible to be Humble and Use Social Media? 

It takes little more than a moment on any social media site, be it Twitter, Facebook, or a host of others, before one comes across a range of opinions and emotions. Someone is angry! Someone is sad! Someone is happy! Someone is excited! Someone is downright outraged!

It can be overwhelming to say the least, can’t it? Those blank boxes with the blinking cursors invite us to share our thoughts with the world, or to reply to someone else’s thoughts, or to comment on someone else’s thoughts about another someone else’s thoughts, and before we know it, we’re contributing to the online cacophony with our opinions, ideas, perspectives, and certainty that what we have to say needed to be said, and all the more needs to be heard (and liked).

While a broad swath of human behavior can be quickly observed soon after logging into a social media site, one posture is more rarely seen—humility. In fact, some wonder if humility is even possible in the online space. Can one share her opinions in writing and quibble back and forth in comment threads with humility? Can one post pictures of a vacation, or critique an article, or share a new blog post with humility?

Keep reading at iBelieve.