Last week was quite a week in history, politics and social media.
In case you didn’t hear, there was an election in the U.S.
The days that have followed have been _______. Well, I just can’t find the right adjective. You fill in the blank.
This was the most emotionally charged election that I’ve ever seen in my 34 years and I dare to say, ever to have been in the country. Even if you aren’t a person motivated to participate in politics, you couldn’t help but be swept in. If you weren’t, you’re my hero.
Everyone has an opinion on the results. My Facebook feed was the most schizophrenic scene. It was too much to handle the day after. But even now, a few days in, I’m still seeing it. And hearing it. My feed included SUPER-pro-Trump and SUPER-pro-Hillary. And if you were one, you were SUPER-anti-the other.
It’s such an emotionally charged time right now. Minorities, immigrants, the LGBTQ community and those that support them feel threatened because of comments the President-Elect has made; because of the ignorant people that sensationalize those types of comments and exaggerate them to cause fear and hate and discourse.
White people are being bashed. The “evangelical” supporters of Trump are being bashed. Rural America is being bashed. Christians are being bashed. People are in HYPER defense mode right now.
I overheard someone who has proclaimed themselves as “liberal” in their views and preferences go on a several minute rant calling white, rural, Christians so many derogatory names. I was hurt.
I was hurt because I’m one of those people. I’m white. I’m from rural America. I’m Christian. But I don’t feel as though I am any of those names that that person called me.
Do you know how I reacted? I didn’t say a darn word. I felt like I couldn’t. I felt like my defense didn’t matter. Why? Because I’m a white, rural, Christian person and those things are bad. I must hate everyone!
I’m from the Mid-South area of the country; south of the Mason-Dixon line, but neither in the East or West, smack dab in the middle. I’m from what people have called the “buckle of the Bible belt”; where you don’t lock the doors and you are weird if you don’t say “y’all”; where a sky scraper doesn’t exist and farming is in the family lineage somewhere. While they are starting to diversify in thoughts, opinions and lifestyles, the majority is still a conservative type tone.
I’m part of a group that feels like we’re discriminated and hated on too.
Before anyone starts getting on the defense train, I’m not asking for pity. I don’t want to get into a debate of who has it worse. I’m not even going to try to defend all white, rural or Christian people. I get that there is SO.MUCH.HATE. out there and that people have been mistreated, tortured, bullied and killed in the vain of hate because they are different.
BUT, retaliating with more hate is not the way to make it better.
I am going to defend one white, rural, Christian person. Me.
But surely you know that not every white person is privileged or racist? That not every person from rural America is ignorant or under-educated. And that not every Christian is a bigot or do they hate any/everyone in the LGBTQ community. It’s beyond unfair for one group to be encouraged to stand up for their beliefs but for another to be silenced.
I’m going to focus mainly on Christians. Because it’s the label of which I’ve actually spent some time being the opposite of. I’ve never not been white or not lived in rural America (until recently).
But I have not always been a Christian. I lived a good majority of my adult life as a “liberal” (I hate labels). I believed in choice; choice of what to do with your body, who to marry, who to have sex with; I was an “anything goes” person. I started attending a church and learning more about Christianity and for the last 8-10 years, I’ve become more “conservative” (again, I HATE labels but for the sake of this post, we’re going to use them). Now, I believe in choice.
Wait, what? There’s a difference! How is that possible?
I still believe that people have the right to choose. The difference is, my faith in God and eternity changed my choices and changed my belief in what was “right” or “wrong.”
MY faith in God and eternity changed MY choices and MY belief in what is right or wrong.
MY. Mine. Me. Mía. Mien. Yo. Mich.
Is that clear enough?
It’s about what I believe. What you believe and choose to do, is what you believe and choose to do. My moral compass points in a unique direction. Yours may point close but probably not on the exact same spot. There will be variances to the degrees of passion, performance or desire. Yours may be pointed in the complete opposite direction.
And that’s okay.
I may not agree. But disagreement does not = hate. Just like love does not = agreement.
I believe this because in my time studying, I learned that God gave us the freedom to choose. He doesn’t force himself on us. He doesn’t force us to believe. He doesn’t force us to do, be, say, or act a certain way. We are allowed to make choices and decisions. With that, I’ve also learned that he loves us regardless. He wishes that we all would follow him and do what he’s declared right and wrong. But even if we don’t, he still gave us life and loves us.
That’s what I want to be. That’s my faith. A God that may not agree, but loves.
If you’ve ever read the Bible, or for that matter even just heard a few scriptures (almost everyone knows John 3:16) you know that the Christian faith is rooted in this value and verb: LOVE.
“Above all things, love each other.” 1 Peter 4:8
Not some. Not a few. Not the things you agree with. Beyond everything, LOVE.
So, here’s my question – if society is requesting that everyone shows love to everyone regardless of their sexual preference, orientation, color, religion, background, desires…and the Bible says to love everyone above anything else…then where are we disconnecting?
Because we are trying to say that love is/equals agreement. And that when you don’t agree, then that equals hate.
That’s so jacked up!
I don’t agree with the choices or lifestyle of some, but I love them regardless. I know that others don’t agree with my lifestyle, so does that mean they can’t love ME? I want to be friends regardless. I want to shop/eat/drink/dance/watch TV/travel/laugh/cry with them regardless. I hope my friends know that. And if they don’t, I hope they ask me.
With that being said, I won’t just stay silent and not defend God. I will stand on my convictions. If a “liberal” is allowed and welcomed to, I should be too. The Bible says not to (and I paraphrase) “go start a bunch of drama and turmoil.” I don’t believe in that. But I will defend the word of God when the opportunity presents itself. I pray every.single.time that I do it in love and it’s not received as hatred. But the receiver has to be open to hearing it and not assuming negative. If it’s okay for you to express yourself, then it should be okay for me to do it as well.
How did we get to where it’s okay for people to celebrate, support and promote people different than Christians but that because you’re different than the different – you’re wrong?
In other words, you’re allowed to be liberal but not allowed to be conservative. Liberals celebrate liberals, but not conservatives but conservatives MUST celebrate liberals.
You can learn SO much from people that think differently than you. One of the greatest things I’ve learned, is that I can love them even if we don’t agree. Because they are a human being.
We can not force people to agree. I can not force someone to follow God. I cannot force someone to see things the way I want to see them. I’m not supposed to. I’m just supposed to love.
Stop the hate. Stop. Just freakin’ love people for who they are regardless of differences.
Last week was quite a week in history, politics and social media.