Take the Bullet


The weirdest thing happened (many weeks ago, now), and I think I’ve finally got the whole thing straight in my head.

Let’s start by saying that Katie has a big mouth. I’ve had a big mouth for a really long time. Also, I was an abstinence educator for a bit, so I feel comfortable talking about most things with most people. Talking about sex doesn’t phase me. Were that not the case, this whole scenario wouldn’t have happened. I’m definitely the one who started the conversation, and bridling my tongue is a huge issue for me. I admit that.

So I started a conversation about sex that I still don’t think was inappropriate. I certainly didn’t say anything I regret, although there were a few moments where other people could have worded something differently… but I don’t particularly blame them for less-than-delicate word choice.

In a lull in the conversation, one of my roommates approached me and pointed out that maybe we were being too conservative and that her non-believing friend might not benefit from it. Thinking the discussion was over anyway, I politely disagreed, then moved on.

Someone else in the group brought the topic up again later, and roommate #2 pulled me aside to tell me that we weren’t being conservative enough. I told her that I understood her concern, and then I realized that she wanted me to end the conversation.

I walked back into the room where our friends were still talking about it, said, “Who wants to play fishbowl?” and it ended.

But the whole thing really bothered me, so I did what I always do when stuff happens and I need uninterrupted time alone: I got in my car and drove around thinking and praying about it.

Then, I called one of the roommates and apologized for bringing the topic up. I fessed up to my big mouth, and said I was sorry.

Then I drove around some more.

And I was reminded of this one episode of the TV series THE WEST WING. It’s about the president of the United States and his staff, and this particular episode has a line that always strikes me as a spiritual lesson. The chief of staff is about to be outed to the nation as an alcoholic as he testifies on behalf of the president. He could choose not to testify, but the president would get into way more trouble than if his chief of staff (Leo) stands by him.

Some guy approaches the Leo and tells him not to testify. He urges and pleas, but no matter what he says, Leo stands firm. The same thing happens again with a different person doing the urging. And again. And again. Until finally, Leo yells out, “The President doesn’t take a bullet for me. I take one for him!”

Now, the cool thing about Jesus is that He totally took the bullet for us.

But question: oughtn’t we to step up at some point and say, “He doesn’t take a bullet for me. I take one for Him!”

My roommates both felt that our conversation was inappropriate for spiritual reasons, but neither of them was willing to stand up in front of her peers and say, “Can we talk about something else?”. Our friends would’ve switched subjects without question, but in order for that to happen, Roommates would have had to risk being perceived as uncool. They would’ve had to take a bullet for their beliefs.

What did they do instead?

They asked me to take the bullet for them.

I didn’t realize that this is what they were doing by pulling me aside.

I’m dense.

Neither of them asked me to end the discussion, but both assumed that I would. What they didn’t get was that I didn’t realize there was a bullet to be taken. Had I felt that we were going to far – had I a tugging at my heart or a pit in my stomach, I would have immediately taken the social bullet and said, “Let’s talk about something else.”

But why were they asking me to take their bullets for them?

Why do we always want someone else to take our responsibility? Why do we look to the more mature Christian? Why are we okay with being less than the most mature in a tiny group of really young believers – in a group of the immature? It really hit me hard when I started thinking about the ways I’ve been leading the ladies around me, because it’s clear that I haven’t always led them to love God more. I’ve led them to rely on others who love Him.

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4 thoughts on “Take the Bullet

  1. I believe that young believers are not always ready to “take a bullet.” I have to say I remember when I was so shy of being labeled a Christian or even too Christian to point I would panic if someone even asked my religious affiliation. They were looking for a strong leader and that was you at that time. Years later and understanding myself and God more, I still panic when anyone hints that I am a Christian. However, now, I feel unworthy to be identified with Christ because of my imperfections. Don’t be too hard on them, they are still learning and growing.

  2. I love that you said they’re still growing since that’s the title of my blog 🙂

    I guess I also have a bit of a rebel attitude that everyone doesn’t have. Whenever the world makes me feel bad for who I am (be that a Christian, tomboy, writer, teacher, etc…) I have a “BITE ME!” attitude that causes me to be WAY more extreme than I ought to.

    I don’t know if that makes sense, but I totally agree with you that I should be patient with them and probably less judgmental. I’m way too self-righteous in this post (and in life).

  3. Pingback: Yep… Definitely Self-Righteous « Still Growing

  4. I understand… when we feel attacked, then we will fight to the death even though the situation does not call for that extreme. I don’t think you were self righteous but sometimes mature christians in the faith tend to forget what it is like being a youngling for Christ and therefore expect the same passion from everyone. As we live, we learn.

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