Friday, February 3, 2017

Oh no he didn't?!?!

I've mentioned before that every weekday morning I teach a bible study to high school students. This morning our lesson ended with a discussion about how we treat people who are different than we are. I've been thinking about that a great deal today and I'm going to share some of my thoughts.

Right now in the world, especially in our country, there has been an outbreak of chaos, confusion, and conflict. People choose a side at every opportunity and it appears that unity is a thing of the past. Every event, every little thing that any person-anywhere does causes a ripple in the puddle that is their immediate circle. This ripple leads to someone deciding that they don't like whatever it is that whoever it was did. The person who doesn't like the thing then feels compelled to tell the world, via social media (of course), that they don't like the thing the person did and why they don't like it. Once it's out there floating around in the precarious space that is the internet it's a thought that is fair game for all of the persons in all of the lands to share, retweet, and fall in love or hate with then causing all of the persons to post and tweet their own thoughts on whatever it was that happened. Soon the ripple is a wave and then before long it's a freaking tsunami. People are screaming and running, and wailing, and drowning, and dying (metaphorically, of course). What I'm trying to say is that one thing that one person has done creates a social effect likened unto a natural disaster.

One of the reasons we all feel so strongly about everything these days is that we're scared. If you ask me, being scared is totally normal and acceptable. Who isn't scared of the unknown or unfamiliar? Sure it could be great, but it could also be horrible, so there's that. When we're faced with ideas and ideals that we don't understand it's human nature for us to put our guards up and go on the offensive. If we're not sure that its safe, we will like it, or if it will benefit us, then we feel the need to fight to get rid of, undo, and destroy it.

At any given time you can find literally millions of people upset and screaming about something. Your gender, race, religion, political affiliation, whether you think the dress is black and blue or white and brown- at any given time you're sure to be pissing someone (or multiple someones) off. Me? I'm a white, female, slightly conservative, stay at home mom, trash tv lover, member of #teamjess, that thought the dress was black and blue. (A thousand people have just decided that I'm the devil for one or more of those things.) What are we to do? How do we stop the madness? How do we make the lambs stop screaming?!?! How do we hold true to our beliefs, whatever they may be, and defend the life we want to live without adding to the noise?

So, back to this morning and the discussion during my class. Here is what we came up with. I can't control what you say. I can't control what you do. I definitely can't control what you believe. I can only control my own actions, more specifically, the way I treat everyone else. One of the most powerful things that I have control over is the way I treat those who are different than I am. How I choose to treat my fellow men and women is my contribution to the condition of life around me. If we can make the choice to stop yelling about why we don't agree with something, why it scares us, or why it's wrong and just be kind to each other it would help turn the volume down on the screaming lambs. It's not a widely accepted notion, but I think it's possible to defend your beliefs without being a total dick about it and hurting someone else in the process. I understand that there are some things that need to be yelled out loud- ideas and ideals to fight for, but I think this can be done in a way that isn't nasty and full of disdain toward your fellow man.

As a Christian I am commanded to love not just my brother, but also my enemy. As a decent human being I'm responsible for being kind to someone even when I disagree with them. Jesus said "This is my commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you." If we could all make a better effort to see each other as a humans all equal in value and importance, then the world will be a better place. Whether you're democrat or republican, Christian or Muslim, gay or straight, I believe that you are a child of a God who loves you and wants me to love you, too. I have not always been able to treat someone I didn't particularly like with kindness, or even tolerance. I have been part of the noise. I have been part of the problem. For a very long time, though, I've made a concerted effort to be a better person. I want to be a good example for my children, as well as anyone I might meet. I can find it in my heart to be nice to just about anyone if I try really hard, even #teamDean people and Yankees. Take it from this former mean girl, there are so many blessings that come from treating people the way you want to be treated, and for shouting love rather than hate. Maybe I'm wrong, if I am then I'm sure you will post about it on facebook, but I'll love you anyway. This is just my two cents. xoxo- Layne

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