Growing up, my dream was to be a writer or a journalist. I loved telling stories! I would imagine what prompted other customers to purchase the items in their cart, or where someone was headed as I watched cars out the window. My siblings had to put up with my narration as we played dress-up or with dolls.
The idea of telling better stories, as Osheta Moore shared in Chapter 10 of Shalom Sistas, stirs up that bit of imagination mixed with a heavy dose of compassion. It’s not a little girl’s made-up tales of strangers. Instead, we are remembering the humanity of the person we are interacting with and their value to our heavenly Father.
The rude customer? The grumpy taxi driver? The teammate who hurt us? What would happen if we chose to tell a better story about what is happening in their lives and what might be below the surface?
While I fully believe in the power of forgiveness and grace, I also feel like there’s a limit, or boundaries that need to be put around this idea. We cannot use grace to justify evil or explain away the choice to do wrong. There are simply people who are not safe, for ourselves or our mental and emotional health, for our children.
Sometimes it feels like those of us in the church are all or nothing. No consequences and absolute forgiveness, or full-on judgment. My heart wants balance—there are consequences and good boundaries, but there’s also forgiveness. Am I off on that? I’d love to know your thoughts on the idea of telling better stories and if there’s a limit to it.
In the back of the book Osheta lists a few ideas to make each chapter practical. I loved this one from Chapter 9 (which was part of last week’s section): place joy triggers in your home. It could be something colorful like a vase or flowers. Do you have joy triggers in your house? I’d love to know what they are.
A few ideas from this week’s section include:
- Volunteer behind the scenes
- Learn from someone who holds a different perspective from yours. Diversify your bookshelf, podcast feed, and the group of people you follow on social media.
- Once a day for the next week, pray a prayer of gratitude for Jesus’ inclusive love that brought you in.
What ideas, big or small, do you have for seeking shalom with others? What nuggets did you pick up from this week’s section? Add your thoughts in the comments!
If you are behind, no worries! Catch up and come back to this post when you are ready. There’s always a spot here in Book Club for you!
We’ll cover the last part of the book next week.
March 30: Part 5 (Chapters 13-15)
Need a fun book for April? Join us as we read The Many Wonders of Costa Contente. Here’s a summary of the book:
There’s a small town on the South America coast where the sweet sea air mixes with fragrant tropical blossoms. It’s a place where the neighbors are kind, the parrots are helpful, and wonders abound in everyday life. Working together, the townspeople always come up with a plan to overcome any obstacle, large or small. Careful thought, hard work, and just that little bit of the magical assure that Costa Contente will continue to thrive for its people and the land on which it rests.
Here’s our April schedule:
April 6: Ch 1-7
April 13: Ch 8-11
April 20: Ch 12-15
April 27: Ch 16-18