One of the things that struck me over and over while reading this book was the fact that seeing the fact that something is wrong isn’t enough. You have to make it right. In other words, once you understand that there’s a problem, it becomes your responsibility to fix it.
In the spirit of that, it would probably be a good idea if I start presenting concrete ideas about how I will actually become a better, kinder person, one who can love like Jesus. (As opposed to saying, “I’m going to be kind!” and then go back to my usual antisocial ways.)
I wouldn’t say that I’m someone who sees the world in black and white (on the contrary; I think so much of the world is a gray area) but I definitely know where I stand on a lot of the issues. Because of that, I sometimes have a hard time understanding where the other person is coming from. I’m going to focus on remembering that everyone wants what’s best for themselves, their family, the country and the world in general. Nobody wants the country to fail just so they can be right about the political candidate they chose. It’s just that we all have different ideas on how to get there and what the best thing is.
In Red Letter Revolution, the authors stress that the problem with sin isn’t so much that you break a law, it’s that the sin dehumanizes people. One specific area I need to work on is remembering that people are…well, PEOPLE. With the whole Chick-Fil-A thing, I kept trying to remind people that what the conservatives never seemed to get is that this isn’t a political issue for some of us, it’s our lives. And that’s the thing I think I lose track of sometimes. Even when I disagree with what they’re saying, the most important thing is that everyone deserves to be heard. The most important thing we have is our voice, and you never know who’s hearing yours.
With that in mind, I’m going to try and have this blog be a little more…well, me. Obviously, you know what books I like and dislike, but I’m not as comfortable talking about other things. But I want to share more, even when it scares me. Probably especially when it scares me.
As an example, public speaking is my own personal idea of hell. I hate being the center of attention and, as Chloe O’Brian said in 24, I’m not good with praise. I prefer to spend my time alone or with a few friends, and I would very much prefer not talking in front of strangers. Pretty much all through college, however, I was on the speakers’ bureau for our gay/straight alliance. Every time I spoke in front of a class, I felt like I was going to throw up. But I did it and the reason I did was so that the people attending my small school—in the red section of a blue state—would see that gay people weren’t that different than they were.
I mention that because I’m very open about being gay, probably way more open than I am about being a Christian. And that’s pretty weird…although really not THAT weird, because (as I mentioned yesterday), the general view of Christians is that they are mean people, small people, ones who view everything as sin and everyone who is not them is surely hell-bound. And they seem to be sad about that, but you can tell they’re really not.
So I haven’t talked much about my faith because honestly? I don’t like fighting and I don’t like it when people think I’m weird or evil or less than or whatever. And also because I’m still so new that I don’t want to inadvertently say or do something that makes everyone else look bad.
But ultimately, here’s what it comes down to for me: I’m a Christian and, to quote Billy Graham, God’s job is to judge. It’s my job to love. And I need to start doing my job, and doing it without worrying about what other people think.
As I said yesterday, it’s easy to love the people I agree with. What I need to work on is loving the people who challenge me and the people who disagree with me and the people who hate me. And the best first step for that is remembering that it never works when you categorize people as “us” and “them.” We’re all us; we’re all the others. Sin dehumanizes people. It makes the people you’re sinning against look less than human in your eyes and, possibly worse, it makes you less than human yourself. I want to use my voice to make things better, not worse.
It would probably be more appropriate to quote the Bible here, but I am still me and so I’m going to quote the Indigo Girls instead. “By grace, my sight grows stronger and I will not be a pawn for the Prince of Darkness any longer.”