In today’s political world, one of the most damning accusations one politician can make about another is to say he or she is a flip flopper. I don’t get it. God calls all of us to grow. Throughout our lives! And, growth requires change (flip flopping, if you will).
For me, the only thing I never want to hear anyone say is, “I am who I am.” That’s tantamount to saying, “I’m satisfied with who I am. I don’t want to change.” Trust me, God is not pleased with someone who shows up at the Pearly Gates and says, “You’ll love me, Lord. I haven’t changed in a half century.”
Now, here’s the deal. We need to change because we want to grow. But, if we are to grow rather than regress, our change must be for the better. So, yes, flip flopping is good. IF! If we flip flop from one belief to a better belief.
I believe St. Paul could be the patron saint of flip floppers. Paul went from horribly persecuting early Christians to being their hero. Paul went from murderer (he participated in the murder of St. Stephen) to martyr (Paul was beheaded for his faith). Paul went from sinner to saint.
Rigid Jews who knew Paul called him a flip flopper. They said it in a damning way. Early Christians also saw Paul a a flip flopper. To them, though, it was the highest compliment they could give. Paul’s flip flopping was good or bad, depending on perspective. Paul’s Jewish colleagues saw him as regressing. Paul’s Christian colleagues saw him as becoming saintly.
Well, we shouldn’t worry, one way or the other, about what others think of us. We have what our faith tells us is absolute truth: Jesus’ command to love and forgive all. So, our entire lives should be a succession of flip flips to achieve that goal. Our job is to flip flop. From bad to good. From good to better. From better to better yet.
Here’s a modern parable -
Gwen had her first abortion when she was 18-years-old. Gwen had her second abortion when she was twenty.
Gwen was a staunch believer in the Pro Choice movement. She even became the organization’s state president. But, Gwen had an epiphany when she turned thirty. After looking at pictures taken of a five-month-old fetus in a friend’s womb, Gwen realized she had killed two children. HER children!
Gwen went to confession with Father Fred. “Father, I have changed my beliefs and my friends hate me for it. They call me a flip flopper and they say it with venom dropping from their lips. They hate me. I can take that, Father, but I’m almost suicidal with the understanding of what I did. God will never forgive me for that.”
Father Fred replied, “Gwen, God will not only forgive those sins, he’ll fulfill the promise he gives to us five times in the Bible. He’ll also forget them. And Gwen, you are a flip flopper. But you’re a flip flopper in the same way St. Paul was a flip flopper. You’ve gone from sinner to saint under construction.”
My sisters and brothers, here’s some spiritual homework for us. Let’s examine our lives. Let’s find out what in each of our lives demands positive change. After we’ve determine what needs to be changed, let’s enthusiastically flip flop. Let’s GROW! Let’s be ready when we get to the Pearly Gates to say “Lord, I changed. Constantly! I flip flopped. Constantly! I did my best to grow from bad to good. From good to better. From better to better yet.”