The Limbo Dance of Life: Bend or Break?
Almost no one dances the Limbo anymore. But in life? These days life is feeling more and more like a giant limbo dance.
Limbo dancing enjoyed popularity sixty years ago. Dancers attempted to pass under a horizontal bar without touching it. With the bar lowered after each round, the pass became more and more difficult. Only the most limber dancers were able to bend their bodies until it was impossible to squeeze through the narrow space between the bar and the ground. All the while, observers chanted, “How low can you go?”
Sound familiar? Some days, it feels as if life requires us to bend lower and lower to pass under the bar of our circumstances. How low can we bend before we break? How low should we bend before we break?
Politics, injustices, pandemics, vaccines. We can be so confrontational that long-term relationships are seemingly broken beyond repair. Or with coworkers, neighbors, and even in our immediate families, we dance around these topics in the hopes of salvaging what’s left of fragile relationships bent to the point of breaking.
Are you feeling the squeeze? Wondering if you’ll break because you can’t bend anymore?
When bending is bad
If confrontation is destroying relationships, is bending always the preferred response? Perhaps the bigger question is, why are we bending? Are we motivated by humility and respect? Or are we motivated by a people-pleasing mentality? Do we speak the truth in love or are we ashamed of our convictions? Are we afraid to be called names because we are ashamed to be identified with the One whose name we bear: Christ?
When should we bend?
“Choose your battles.” It was good advice years ago and it’s still good advice today. Some disagreements are not worth digging in our heels to take a stand. Others are a matter of conviction that touch the heart of our values and beliefs. Learning how to differentiate between them requires discernment—a discernment that comes from the One who created and sustains us and freely gives wisdom to those who ask (James 1:5).
Churches have come close to splitting over the color of the carpet or the type of worship music (hymns or praise choruses). That could be a good place to bend for the preservation of unity.
Other churches are dividing over issues such as human sexuality or abortion. Compromising on moral issues such as these make a mockery of God’s holiness—a holiness that defines how Christians are to live. Bend here? No. Take a stand, albeit gently and with love, with a goal of restoration.
As someone once said, ships don’t sink because of the water around them. They sink because the water gets in them. Identify your biblical convictions and hold fast. Speak the truth in love, without compromising the truth. There may come a time when the cost of doing so will break you and me. It’s happening even now in other countries as Christians choose to identify with Christ over the world. Are we prepared to do the same?
How do you determine when you should bend and when you should stand?
What has been your experience in those circumstances?