Peace, Love, and Hypocrisy

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I read a blog post today; a friend posted it on Facebook.  It’s long . . . three pages long, but completely worth the time it took to read it.  I wish the whole world could read this blog post.  It is just what we need to hear . . .

“Today’s post is not about homosexuality. It’s not about Christians. It’s not about religion. It’s not about politics. It’s about something else altogether. Something greater.  Something simpler.  It’s about love.  It’s about kindness.  It’s about friendship.”

The post is about our propensity to react to that which is different.  We are suspicious . . . we distance ourselves . . . we whisper, point fingers.  Eventually, we begin to hate.  If there is someone ‘different’ in your circle and you are treating them any differently than you would anyone else because of it, THAT is discrimination.  It is prejudice.  If you’re ignoring the guy from the warehouse because he has a few tattoos, you need to ask yourself why?  If you and your work friends go out to lunch regularly, leaving behind the girl who is a different color/social class/generation/religion/whatever, ask yourself why?  If you can’t bring yourself to look someone who’s different from you in the eye and offer a smile, why the hell not?  Back to the post . . .

“People may not be holding up picket signs and marching around in front of television cameras but… come on. Why is it that so many incredible people who have certain struggles, problems, or their own beliefs of what is right and wrong feel so hated? Why do they feel so judged? Why do they feel so… loathed? What undeniable truth must we all eventually admit to ourselves when such is the case?”

I don’t think Jesus ever made anyone feel hated, judged, or loathed.  In fact, Jesus explicitly said that he did NOT come to condemn the world.  So why is it that Christians can be so good at making people feel condemned?  One might argue that people feel condemned because they know they are guilty of sin.  Guilt can certainly cause condemnation, but that’s not what we’re talking about here.  We’re talking about people who are hateful, who speak with revulsion about others, people who gossip, who use Scriptures like daggers and hide the disgust in their eyes behind a thin veil of self-righteousness.  To the post once again . . . 

“I have known a lot of people in my life, and I can tell you this… Some of the ones who understood love better than anyone else were those who the rest of the world had long before measured as lost or gone. Some of the people who were able to look at the dirtiest, the poorest, the gays, the straights, the drug users, those in recovery, the basest of sinners, and those who were just… plain… different…They were able to look at them all and only see strength. Beauty. Potential. Hope.  And if we boil it down, isn’t that what love actually is?”

Love is the ability to look at someone and see something else . . . something more.  Jesus looked at Peter, a dirty, swearing, common fisherman and saw a rock, a leader, a shepherd of His church.  Why do we find this so very hard to do?  We look at a homeless man and see a homeless man – a dirty, smelly, scary guy.  But Jesus sees a man without a home . . . someone who hurts, who loves, who is down on his luck, who made some bad decisions . . . someone for whom there is hope.  When we look at an addict we see a weak-willed loser who screwed up his life, hurt his family.  But Jesus sees the anguish, the torment, and He holds out hope for a different life.  More from the post . . .

” . . . what makes somebody love, accept, and befriend their fellow man is letting go of a need to be better than others.  (emphasis mine)
Nothing else.
I know there are many here who believe that living a homosexual life is a sin.
Okay.
But, what does that have to do with love?
I repeat… what does that have to do with love?
Come on. Don’t we understand? Don’t we get it? To put our arm around someone who is gay, someone who has an addiction, somebody who lives a different lifestyle, someone who is not what we think they should be… doing that has nothing to do with enabling them or accepting what they do as okay by us. It has nothing to do with encouraging them in their practice of what you or I might feel or believe is wrong vs right.
It has everything to do with being a good human being. A good person. A good friend.
That’s all.
To put our arm around somebody who is different. Why is that so hard?
I’m not here to say homosexuality is a sin or isn’t a sin. To be honest, I don’t give a rip. I don’t care. I’m not here to debate whether or not it’s natural or genetic. Again, I… don’t… care. Those debates hold no encumbrance for me.
What I care about is the need so many of us have to shun and loathe others. The need so many of us have to feel better or superior to others. The need some of us have to declare ourselves right and “perfect” all the freaking time and any chance we have.
And for some of us, these are very real needs.
But I will tell you this. All it really is… All any of it really is… is bullying.
Sneaky, hurtful, duplicitous, bullying.”

 . . . there it is . . . the bottom line – the truth about ourselves allows us to distance ourselves from other human beings, to “shun and loathe others”, to “feel better or superior to others”, our great need to be right.  And not only to be right, but to separate ourselves from what is wrong.  The truth is, I don’t think we want those people in heaven with us.  We certainly don’t want them in our churches.  We’re good, clean, God-fearing people . . . normal people.  They don’t belong.  And if they don’t belong, if they are wrong and different and bad, then it’s okay to treat them poorly.  Isn’t that how we justified enslaving thousands of Africans?  “They’re not like us, they’re animals, they don’t have souls, they are incapable of learning.”  Isn’t that how we justified taking this country from the native peoples?  “They’re not like us, they’re godless savages.”  If we can convince ourselves that a group of people (or a person) is other, we can begin to justify our ill-treatment of them.

Jesus was not afraid to look sinners in the eye.  He wasn’t afraid to enter their homes and eat with them.  He walked with them, talked with them.  He taught them, suffered long with them, listened to them.  He wasn’t afraid to touch them; he wasn’t afraid of catching their diseases, even leprosy.  He had a love that radiated toward them, drew them in, helped them to understand.  Jesus’ harsh words were reserved for another group – the self-righteous religious folks who disparaged the poor, the sick, the disenfranchised, the morally bankrupt.

How dare we think we can treat people differently than Christ himself did?  How dare we act like the Pharisees of Jesus’ day and somehow think God is pleased with us?  How dare we use Scripture that we barely understand ourselves to justify our fear and judgement?  It’s WRONG what we do to people, how we think about them, how we treat them.  It’s wrong not to see them through their Father’s eyes.  The blog post to which I’ve been referring is a call to look at ourselves with raw honesty and a willingness to humble ourselves.  It’s a call to a deeper love than we ever thought was possible, a love that sees beyond what is to what could be and what should be.  You will find it in it’s entirely here:

http://www.danoah.com/2011/11/im-christian-unless-youre-gay.html

 The blogger has posted some of the hundreds of responses to his post.  Some of them are truly nauseating.  Others are wonderful.  Take some time to read them as well.

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