I am not writing this in defense or response to how I have been personally treated, but rather in response to recently witnessing blatant discrimination and selective approval being given to others by people in my life who are basing their actions on their beliefs and convictions. I know we are all struggling, learning, growing, but it just hurts my heart and surprises me each and every time I see one group “rise up” above another in pride, refusing to embrace and respect others who do not share our beliefs. It just seems like such an outdated and ridiculous place for us to be in this current time in life.
If you were to examine my life more closely I can ensure you that there will definitely be something within its contents that does not align with your vision for how things “should” be. There would no doubt, be something that offends you, something that you would do differently, a choice you would not support, a number of things that you do not remotely understand, and much that you could absolutely do and handle “better” and more effectively according to what you see as ideal or what you define to be right. We could all do this to each other, given the opportunity.
The joy of the FB craze is that it connects us. All of us really messed up, imperfect, quirky people, are now mingling about and sharing a world with each other that makes us appear to be a network that is walking through the journey of life and doing the best we can to do it well, together. We observe how those in our network live their lives. Maybe according to our perspective they are too candid or detailed with the info that they share. Maybe we are “shocked” at the language that they use, the activities that they are participating in, or the person who they appear to us to be. Or possibly, they say all the right things… they are clever, they are witty, or just have our stamp of approval because they seem like “good” people. Whatever your impression, please do keep this in mind. People are people and were there living their lives before you had the window of FB to peer through. You were doing life with them, before you knew of the details that you now see.
We are not required to condone, invest in, or encourage any lifestyle that we do not support. We are not either expected to change our lifestyle and our convictions to that which others in our world (FB friend, customer, co-worker, etc) are engaged in. But if our personal beliefs cause us to feel justified in requiring another person to change into who we expect them to be as a pre-requisite for being treated with love, respect, or friendship, then I might suggest that the author of those particular beliefs is not actually a higher power, but possibly just the higher attitude of ourselves over others around us.
I will openly tell you (and knowing that not everyone in my life or my FB shares my belief) that I personally believe in God. I believe in a God that created the universe and who set my life in motion. I believe that God breathes life into us with a purpose and a plan. All of us. I believe in Jesus Christ. I believe that Jesus Christ walked the earth and lived and served as an example of love and God in the form of a man. Though He did not have a FB page, I believe He did walk along side other people on this journey as we are. He served them. He mingled with them. He met them where they were. He hoped to inspire them to be all that they can be and to offer them a message of hope and peace.
The God and the Jesus that I personally believe in did not carry Christianity or religion as a tool tucked safely behind their backs and await unsuspecting people that they could attack with this handy tool as if it were a mallet. Jesus did not wait for people to “clean up their act” before He would associate or be seen with them. He didn’t offer a relationship under any pretense or guise. He was sincere, He treated people with love and respect, and He did so knowing full well of whom they were and being completely aware of their quirks, bad habits, tendencies and differences. He met them, accepted them, and embraced them “as is”.
And, by the way (just a side note)… Bible says that we “all have sinned and fall short”. Is your sin greater than mine or vice versa? Which one is worse? Just because you can relate to (or practice personally) a particular “moral failure” more comfortably than another does not mean that we have the right to judge or call ourselves superior to someone who is struggling in a different area. Do you know how ridiculous and prideful it is to cast out a group of people because of their “sin”, and then to overlook and embrace those in the category of our preferred “sin of choice” that we are more tolerant of or find more relatable? There is not a single one of us who can claim to be blameless or perfect. So how is it acceptable for us to “toss” people away because their faults, sin, lifestyle are more outwardly obvious or apparent to us than another’s!
The Jesus that I believe and the God that I base my life around did not submit that love and respect were to be earned, but that they were given freely and without exception. So what I do not understand is why so many of us that profess to believe in this Jesus, and walk with God seem to have some perverted belief that the people in our lives are lesser beings then ourselves because they do not share our same lifestyle or belief system. Shame on us for requiring that others around us “clean up their act” according to our personal convictions before they are worthy of our love. Shame on us for thinking that we could live someone else’s life better than they can, when we have no idea of their past, the path that they are on, with little to no insight to their circumstances, and when we are completely ignorant of the personal purpose they are created for.
If you knew me. If you truly knew ME. You would find that my life does not align with yours as a complete parallel. Most of those differences, I have to admit, are completely by intention! I am an imperfect, “messy” human being (and might I suggest…as are you?) J. I have habits that you would find offensive! I make choices that I know very well that you would not agree with. But despite how you think that should or might make me feel… (empty, unhappy, depressed, unfulfilled?), I have never been more whole and more at peace with who I am and who I am created to be! It is so freeing to know and admit that I could NEVER be perfect, and that I am accepted and loved in spite of this. I honestly believe that God has better things to worry about than so and so’s foul mouth, love for tobacco, or drinking habit. I believe He is focused on bigger issues! And I never cease to be shocked by the disgusting way that WE use our beliefs as a justification to discriminate, label, or cast out others for their differences and their contrast to our life.
And that is my two cents…