Friday, December 20, 2013

Blessed are the Peacemakers

I thought a long while about writing this post.  I even prayed about writing this post because I needed guidance.

I kept checking in with myself.  Am I just having a bad day?  No, pretty good day.  Did I have a hard week at work?  Sometimes I focus on random things as a way to cope with the reality of how hard my job is.  Well, this week had its challenges like any other.

A thought kept rolling around in my head.  A prayer that we say in church, a prayer of confession in which we ask for forgiveness and include forgiveness for what we have left undone.  And this week, while I am speaking those words, I didn’t want this to be one of those things left undone on my heart.
I think a few disclaimers might be in order before I get started with the business of this post. 

· This post is a reflection of my personal beliefs.  I’m sure you have your own.  It’s ok if we don’t agree.  When we get down to it, this is my blog so it is all about me anyway.
· I don’t want to argue about the Bible.  So please don’t read this post with a bunch of biblical quotes in your head that you want to throw at me.  Seriously, it won’t change my opinion.

·This is a guilt free zone.  I took that term from one of the bosses at work.  It means that while you are reading this, if you feel that you have done what I am going to talk about, this post isn’t intended to make you feel bad.  I know that I have done this too.  This post is only intended to make us think about our actions.
So let’s get down to it.  Today I’m going to write about those two topics that people shy away from, religion and politics, but probably not in the way you think.

And the reason that I’m doing it, folks, is because I am tired.
I’ve noticed a trend the past few years.  And I am so tired.

We live in a world where we can quickly sift through headlines and posts and hit share or like.  And we don’t really process what that means.
We stopped thinking about what other people are going to think.

And I don’t mean that to suggest that we should care about what other people think about our opinions.  After all, we are entitled to them.
This is more about what other people might think when you like a post that is essentially saying to someone else, your opinion is invalid because you are (insert politically party affiliation) and I think all (insert politically party affiliation people) are idiots.

I’m tired of people saying, I hate being politically correct.  This isn’t about being politically correct.  This is about being respectful.  So are we saying, I hate being respectful or I am too lazy to be respectful.

All of us have friends/family that we disagree with.  That’s part of life.  We all have our unique opinions and experiences.
But have we ever taken the time to think about what meaning our friends/family will take from our liking or even posting something that is so divisive and unkind?  There are many times, that I have stopped myself from sharing a post in which I may agree with the opinion but dislike the delivery.  I think, how would my (insert friend/family member with a different political party affiliation/belief system) receive this?  Would they see that I liked this and wonder if I thought they were stupid and their opinion didn’t matter?

If you are facebook friends with me, there is probably something you should know.  I am liberal.  GASP!  Seriously, folks, I am a social worker.  Is this really news?  I get it, not everyone agrees with me, and that’s ok.  And just because I say, I am liberal, doesn’t mean that you suddenly know everything that I think.  Because I don’t presume to know everything about you because of your particular political party affiliation/belief system.
Here’s the thing, when I read your posts about how idiot liberals blah, blah, blah, I wonder if that is how you think of me too.  And I know that you liking a post, it isn’t about me, but I wonder if you are thinking about the meaning behind the post before you are sharing/liking it.

What I don’t want you to read is, sheesh, I can’t say anything anymore because she is so sensitive.  Because if that is how you read this, you are missing the point.
Again, it’s not about being politically correct, it’s not about people being sensitive, it is simply about being respectful.  As a sign of respect to my friends/family, I am going to think about how they might be receiving something before I post/like/share. 

I want you to know, that I still find value in you and your opinion even if you affiliate with another political party/religion/belief system.  I’m asking that you do the same for me.
And I get it, I can just unsubscribe from people’s news feeds, which I have done.  Although, I really do like some of you and want to see the pictures of your kids/dogs/life that show up in my newsfeed.  I want to hear what is going on in your life.  I want to hear about you.

And I am tired of being silent about this.  This post is about getting us to think about how we treat each other.  And I am challenging myself to do the same as well.
And folks, I am frankly tired of people saying that they are posting something that is disrespectful and unkind, saying that it is in the Bible or it is my Christian duty.  Even as Christians, we don’t agree on everything.  Personally, I don’t follow/believe every teaching in the bible.  GASP!  And maybe you think I am going to hell for that.  But can you at the very least still communicate respect with me?

Jesus was a peacemaker.  And peacemakers are respectful of others.  And being respectful means that you are willing to see the world from someone else’s point of view.  And acknowledge that you do not know everything.  I am frequently wrong.  And the times when I am right, well, there is no glory in being right.
Here were are, wrapped up in the Advent season, talking about Jesus a little more than usual these days, which is a good thing if you are someone who celebrates Christmas.

The Christmas story (both the events leading up to the birth of Jesus and the story of his life) is beautiful.  It is a story about faith, hope, love and forgiveness (and that’s a nutshell).
And when we post snark in the name of Christ, we certainly aren’t winning any people over for Jesus.  We are creating another division.  And we are separating folks from learning more about a beautiful faith.

So here’s what I am asking.
Can we be more respectful? 

Can we take one moment before going through our news feed and clicking on share/like and think is this respectful?  And not just the actual post, but the source itself, are we posting from a facebook group that is I hate…insert people who do not agree with me?  Is this dismissive of anyone who does not subscribe to my particular brand of politics/religion/personal values?
And really, is this kind?

We can be kind while expressing our opinions.  We can be respectful while expressing our opinions.
We can be peacemakers.

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Be kind, not judgey