Chances are, you have offended a Southerner by saying something to the tune of
You can’t treat people that way…
You shouldn’t talk to your husband/wife like that…
You can’t run in here…
And, the defensive response you received may have sounded something like
It wasn’t me…
As Southerners, we often forget that “you” is both singular and plural because in our dialect, we have traded plural “you” for
Ya’ll and Y’all. We can’t even agree on its contracted form!
My 10-year-old is sensitive to this cultural norm. She recently expressed she uses “y’all” so as not to offend and make her friends think she is pinpointing one of them in conversation. Such a polite, Southern girl!
Unfortunately, we often operate by the same standards in The Church. Our teaching pastor, Greg Gibson, recently pointed out the plurality of you in John 15:5 “I am the vine; you [y’all] are the branches.” It’s not that Christ is the vine, and I am the branch. We are the branches. This is a life to be lived in community.
In recent weeks, I have been able to apply this same principle to another verse I often consume for myself — 2 Timothy 1:7 “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” Spirit is my OneWord focus for the year, but the “us” in this scripture came to life in my surrounding community last week.
Four weeks ago, I had a baseline mammogram, and two weeks ago, I received a call letting me know they found a dense spot that was benign-appearing. Last week, I had a follow-up ultrasound to confirm the mass was benign, and it was.
The process was relatively quick, and I could have kept it close to the chest. Haha! But, much would have been lost if the unfolding events terminated on my family and me. Because we shared our lives with those in our lives, we were able to hear
words that in other respects would not have been heard
wisdom that would have otherwise been missed
truth that would have been left unspoken
prayers that would have been left unsaid
scripture that would have been left unsent
compassion that would have been left unshown
This walk is not just about us. When we recoil in isolation, we not only miss the opportunities of being served, but we also take away the opportunities of allowing our brothers and sisters in Christ to serve. We remove the possibility for their faith to increase through our situation and experience true community themselves.
I was allowed to see that my OneWord does not fall solely on me: For the Lord has not given Us a Spirit of Fear — He has given Y’all a Spirit of Power and of Love and of Self-Control.
“Good relationships are gonna cost you and hurt you; but not as much as alienation and isolation.” Scotty Smith