Y’all, I don’t like disagreeing with people. I am very anti-confrontational and always have been. I am always going to be the one to simply back off and not engage if I realize I’m not going to break any ground in a conversation. I don’t like to argue. Really and truly I don’t.
Which means, btw, that if you and I have ever had a tense exchange, it means either A) I thought you might be open to hearing my side of what we didn’t agree on and B) I thought the subject matter important enough to contend for.
That being said, this past year has given me a lot of potential bitterness to chew on. I didn’t realize it until recently when I was doing a sort of mental timeline, but 2011 sucked, y’all. The conservative/traditional/bible belt knives were flying about all willy nilly, just looking for a back to sink into. And we came out the other end with a few scars.
So what do I do to keep from being overcome with resentment? Well first I, ahem, unsubscribe from people on facebook. If your mouse hand causes you to sin, cut it off and all that.
But mostly, I just hold close to the knowledge that my adversaries truly think they’re right. And that helps me humanize them, sympathize with them.
My enemies aren’t actually my enemies. They’re just people, like me, following what they think to be true. My fight isn’t with them. My fight isn’t against flesh and blood.
And you know what? Five years ago, I would have been my own enemy. My “truths” were different back then. Most of them weren’t actually “true”. But I thought they were. Jessica-five-years-ago would have disagreed on about every subject imaginable with Jessica-of-today. Such is life.
We grow, we mature, we learn.
None of this is new. None of this should be unexpected.
“I will send you the Advocate – the Spirit of truth. He will come to you from the Father and will testify about me…I have told you these things so that you won’t abandon your faith. For you will be expelled from the synagogues and the time is coming when those who kill you will think they are doing a holy service for God. “*
People act out of a certainty that they are right. Religious people act out of a certainty that they are doing what their God wants them to do. Christian people act out of a certainty that they’re honoring their rubber bracelets.
Sadly, that doesn’t ensure that any of us are getting it right. Sometimes we get it wrong. Sometimes I get it wrong. Sometimes my enemies get it wrong.
And that leaves me trying hard every day to remember that Jesus warned me about this and expected me not to abandon my faith anyway. In the face of in-fighting and backstabbing and theological snobbery I try to sift the chaff of my religion and cling to the wheat.
So, I will find ways to love my enemies, to sympathize with them. Because there must always be room for grace. And, ya know, WWJD and stuff.
photo by serban enache