They weren’t kidding when they said, “Life’s not fair.” So often you read stories that tell of a pretty good person getting the short end of the stick…or…a really terrible person having such great fortune. As a society, I feel like we have stopped teaching our kids that life just isn’t fair. That’s just how it is. Not everyone is going to agree with you. Not everyone is going to be supportive of your endeavors. Not everyone is going to like you. That’s life. Once we can come to grips with this and accept it, the quicker we can move on and not add anymore difficulty or pressure to it.
I have become increasingly frustrated as I watch people argue with one another for not agreeing. Now, I have no problem with a friendly debate. After all, sometimes a friendly debate can be a good thing. We can constructively challenge one another to know what we believe and why. We should always be prepared to give reason and support for what we believe. Not that I hope we all have to defend ourselves, but it is is good practice just to be sure you know what you’re talking about and not just buying into what everyone else believes. We can politely and respectfully discuss disagreements with one another and everyone should be able to walk away as friends.
Now, I recognize that the issues we all disagree on go much deeper than, “Which is better? Chocolate or vanilla?” In general, no one will be hurt by making a personal decision here. But we can get into much deeper waters when we disagree on areas of religion and politics. These disagreements and debates quickly turn into heated arguments in which both parties start name calling, pointing fingers, and putting words into each others mouths.
I recently read something about Chick-Fil-A taking a lot of heat because the president of the company has stated that, as a company, they support the definition of marriage as one man-one woman. They also stated that Chick-Fil-A is not a Christian company, but it is run by Christians and with biblical principles in mind. Now, there are so many people that are up in arms about this. Cathy, the president of Chick-Fil-A, has every right to support the groups that he does and to believe his own religious beliefs just as much as the next guy has a right to NOT believe it. They don’t have to start name calling. Cathy never once said, “God hates fags” (from a recent cartoon I saw with the popular Chick-Fil-A cows). But people have decided to say that Cathy said that. As a Christian, if Cathy had said that I would likely not go to Chick-Fil-A ever again myself. I don’t necessarily disagree with Biblical marriage consisting of one man and one woman, but I don’t ever support name calling…EVER. I don’t support the use of terms such as “fag” or “faggot” or the ever popular “gay-wad” from when I was probably 13. I hate when people just call each other “gay” just to jab them…as if to call someone “stupid.” That has always irritated me and I imagine it will continue to bother me. And the idea that God hates homosexuals is not anywhere in the Bible. 2 Peter 3:9 says, “…He is patient with you not wanting anyone to perish, but for all to come to repentance.”
I have consistently seen a negative outpouring when someone speaks his or her mind about what they believe…even if it is in the most kind way they can possibly say it. If someone says, “I am against abortion” there are a million people just waiting to say, “You don’t support victims of rape or incest you bigoted, condemning person!!” Actually…that wasn’t said at all! It burns me how people can take a stance or opinion like that and get all personal and angry about it. I don’t go out calling women who have chosen to have abortions “Baby murderers” or anything like that. I think that is rude and disrespectful. But for some reason they are allowed to call me closed-minded or ignorant when I don’t believe what they believe.
I also find it fascinating that s non-religious group would tell a religious group to not vote according to their belief system. Christians, Muslims, Scientologists all have just as much right to vote according to their beliefs as an atheist or agnostic person does. I am baffled when people expect you to put your religious or non-religious views aside when election day comes around. I don’t expect a non religious person to vote the same way or for the same reasons I do. It wouldn’t make sense. I wish we could just allow majority to rule and in instances when we believe the people have not chosen wisely, to let the courts deal with that. We don’t have to get angry and hate each other over this.
I realize that there are people out there on both sides who just need to get into fights. They need to get out there and “spread the word” so to say about their own political and social views. Every single Facebook status or Tweet is about how they do or don’t support some politician or some policy. They have every right to do that. Just like I have every right to disagree with them. Where I believe it crosses the line is when we say, “To each his own…everyone has a right to believe and feel however they want. This is America, after all.” And then in the same day say, “I hate everyone who disagrees with me and you may as well just not be my friend because you all suck!” That doesn’t make any sense at all. “To each his own as long as it corresponds well with what I think. I’m open-minded as long as you agree with me…and if you don’t, then you’re clearly an uneducated idiot who wishes everyone harm and kicks a guy when he’s down…” Need I go on? It makes no sense. That is not open-minded to me.
To me, being open-minded is recognizing that we all don’t agree and allowing that to exist. If we feel so compelled to share our ideas and beliefs with each other, it should be in a non-aggressive and loving manner. When the person we share with doesn’t agree, then we can move on and continue as friends and agree to disagree. As a Christian, I find it imperitive that we share our beliefs. I also know that if I don’t share those words in love, then I am just making noise (1 Cor 13:1).
We live in a world where people aren’t always going to like each other. We aren’t all going to get along…as much as I would wish we could. Some people are still just going to be angry. Some people have been deeply hurt and choose to believe that everyone they encounter who disagrees with them is going to say hurtful things just like the one person who did. There are probably going to be people who will hate me and delete me from their friends list…but they can do that. While I believe it is unfair to say “we can’t be friends because we don’t agree”…they have a right to believe that and I will let them act on it if they so choose. I won’t call them names. It will definitely make me a little sad…but, that’s life. And life isn’t fair.