“But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” – Matthew 5:44
Okay, honest show of hands. Who else has unfriended or un-followed people on Facebook over the past few weeks? Anyone?
Well, I sure have. *both hands raised high* And you know why? Because people are ignorant and that pisses me off.
Okay, so that’s not very lady-like of me, I don’t suppose. Doesn’t exactly go with that whole “turn the other cheek” spirit we’re supposed to have. But dear Lord, I cannot shut up when people are spewing hate and ignorance towards recent current events. Racism, gay rights…you name it, people are throwing around their opinions about it…swearing that they know all and that the confederate flag should fly high and gays should stay in the closets where they belong. It absolutely infuriates me. So, what do I do? I jump right in there and tell them how wrong they are. And do you know what that solves?
Not one flippin thing. In fact, it probably hurts my cause more than helps it. I am doing exactly what they’re doing, just in reverse. I am infuriated at them for being so judgmental and so narrow-minded, and yet I’m being the same way in a sense. I’m exercising my own hatred, it’s just directed at a different group – the ignorant and the narrow-minded.
Now, I’d like to believe that I’m a Christian. I fully believe that Jesus was who he said he was. I really do. But I don’t believe that we are supposed to adhere to everything the bible tells us to do. I don’t believe that a rape victim should have to marry her rapist (Deuteronomy 22:28-29). I don’t believe it is shameful for me to cut my hair (1 Corinthians 11:6). I don’t believe that eating or touching a pig is forbidden by my lord (Leviticus 11:7-8). And I sure as heck fire don’t believe that a woman is supposed to remain in quiet submission while she is in church (1 Corinthians 14:34). Heck, just ask my husband – I don’t believe that a women should be in quiet submission anywhere. Ever.
I could go on and on and on with the things in the bible that I don’t believe are still accurate today. I believe that times have changed and that much of what was put in there was just what the writers of the time believed to be the case based on how things were done at the time they were walking the earth. I’m a writer – just about everything I write is tinged with my opinion. (Ha! “Tinged.” Okay, maybe I need a different word there.) But still – you get the point. I think God wanted some stuff done and we were sucking at it, so I think he sent his son to explain it to us. And I think his son did a fine job of doing that when he told us to love our neighbor as ourselves (Mark 12:31). In fact, he made it pretty clear that no other commandment was greater than that one.
And what have I been doing? Failing miserably. I don’t love my neighbors. I hear and see the hateful things that people are saying about people I love and I get mad. I get ANGRY. And do I feel love towards them? No, I don’t. I think Jesus rocks – and I think he had some seriously good advice, but I’m not him. I just can’t do it. I can’t feel love towards these people who make others feel dirty and worthless, and then use the bible as their weapon in doing so. The God I believe in wouldn’t stand for that for a second, and neither do I.
A woman that I recently did a community theatre play with posted something as her Facebook status one day in the midst of the hatred, and I want to share it with you. Take a few seconds to read this, won’t you?
I will not “UNFRIEND” those who lack empathy or those who refuse to understand. If I “UNFRIEND” them, then I allow them to retreat deeper into their closets of ignorance. If I “UNFRIEND” them, I offer them greater refuge from the reality of the world around and deprive them of the opportunity to develop sensitivity and demonstrate true love for humanity. No, I will not “UNFRIEND” them. Instead, tidbits and snippets of my life will continue to pop up in their news feeds. I will continue to allow myself to be available should curiosity get the best of them and one day, they decide to try to understand. SOMEDAY; that closet of ignorance might get lonely and they might start to crave the richness of life that comes from connecting across the differences. Don’t get me wrong- this is not a passive surrender because I REFUSE TO LIE DOWN AND ALLOW THEM TO TRAMPLE MY SPIRIT!! I WILL STAND UP AND RISE ABOVE!! I will keep living this GLORIOUS life and do it with BOLDNESS, JOY, and LOVE because that is the true children of God!!
– Tiffany Christian
Oh wow. Tiffany, what I wouldn’t give to have your attitude. I try, I really do. But then I backslide all over again. Am I just made of a different caliber of material than others? Oh, I don’t know. All I can figure is this: I’m human.
That’s it. I’m human. I’m not perfect. And neither is anyone else. None of us have all the answers. We really don’t. Are gay people going to hell? Heck, I don’t know. Is there a hell? Is there a heaven? Did that first haircut I got back in 1983 seal my spot on the front pew in the pits of hell? Don’t know that either. NONE OF US KNOW ANYTHING. We really truly don’t. So why do we go around acting like we do?
Why do I go around acting like I do?
Ladies and gentlemen, I don’t know the answer. I really don’t. But I’m pretty sure love is the first place to start looking for it. I have to try to find a way to get this anger and hatred out of my heart because it’s not healthy. I wish we could all just love each other, but there’s nothing I can do to help anyone else with that if I don’t first start with myself.
Anyone care to join me?
It’s a work in progress, friends. We have to start somewhere.
“For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill.”
– Sun Tzu