Sunday, 13 March 2016
The Power of Disagreement
People disagree about things. Actually, that's an understatement, people disagree about everything, mundane - is the dress blue or white? major - politics, religion and everything in between, but since when does coming across someone who disagrees with me, rather doesn't agree with me exclusively mean that they must then hate me? Hater.
Whoa - wait a minute, isn't that a leap? Just when exactly did it become OK to hate someone who disagreed with me? But, I've been feeling it lately. Politics for example, if you voted Conservative, you need your head examined, if you voted Liberal you want the country to implode, and if you voted NDP well, that was just a poll throwaway, vote waster. Are we really justified in believing the worst about one another, and speaking horrible things to one another, because we come from differing points of view?
Speaking as a Christian - lately we've been no better than anyone else, and in fact, we've been more judgmental, hypocritical, and antagonistic than usual. After all, wasn't it Jesus who said, Love your Neighbor, but when it turns out that he's gay, and voted for the Liberal party, well, then you're off the hook. Throw as much vitriol as you can find in his general direction, but make sure you do it anonymously and always be sure to tell him, that "we hate the sin, not the sinner." (What does that mean, anyway?) Meanwhile make sure you're in church every Sunday, to tick that box on your "Good Christian List." Everyone there knows how holy you are, and so you're covered.
I just can't accept that. One thing I have realized, is that I have to work on the very give and take that allows us to be the unique people that God created. Do I have the right to say what I think? Absolutely - I've learned it is important to say what I think, and to be confident in it. But, to love other people, it is more important for me to listen to what they have to say - and try to see things from their point of view. I can tell you right now, there will always be something that I won't be able to align myself with - for example, I will never understand what it is like to be gay. I have no frame of reference for it in any experiences that I have had. My life hasn't been like someone's who is gay, I haven't had to deal with what they have had to deal with, things that I imagine can be very hurtful and isolating - therefore I have no platform to make any kind of judgement. Instead of saying to someone who you disagree with, I disagree with you, maybe what you're saying is - I don't understand your point of view - and I may never understand. But, you aren't stupid, and what you're going through is valid. When we are confident in ourselves, in God's love for us, and his command that we love others, the thing is - we don't need to understand.
What is it we all want anyway? A whole bunch of people who just agree with everything we say all the time? Are we so threatened by someone who 'disagrees' that we have to automatically put them in the "evil" camp? Claim they hate us because they just don't agree. Let me tell you, I would take an authentic friend, who I know cares about me in spite of the fact that we have significant differences - even of opinion. If everyone agreed all the time, not only would life crawl dangerously toward the precipice of boredom, just maintaining a friendship would require polite conversation to end itself promptly after the weather was discussed. If this is the case, we won't be able to maintain authentic friendships or even romantic relationships. I love my husband, he is both my best friend and sparring partner.
I think people on opposite sides get so wrapped up in what is "right" and what is "wrong" that we have to convince the other party of how right we are. We throw around ideas and judgements that we believe come from God, all the while forgetting about what is really important, and that is, our relationship with God. When it comes down to it, in the end, it is only me who will have to stand before God - and I know that he will be able to clearly see the ugly, dark places of my heart that are easy for me to hide when the world looks at me. Those things that Christ covered on the cross for me.
When I realize that, I realize that Christ has set me free. So, disagree with me. I may never be able to fully understand where you're coming from, but I will love you instead.
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