For awhile now I have been running circles in my head trying to process the following. Maybe it’s inspired by the current social climate, political currents and the social media that I see daily. If you have read some of my previous posts you’ll find that I keep circling back to understanding conflict and the role it plays in our lives.
I find what I value and believe to constantly be brushed by counter arguments, opposing views and different perspectives. Here’s what I have begun to understand; if my argument requires for me to tear you down and belittle you than it’s wrong.
I see that people are voting for candidate based not upon their belief that this is the right person to vote for but to vote against the other guy. I see that people make sexist statements not based upon their sincere views of supporting their gender but because they have a bitterness towards the other (and trust me, I’m not what you would consider a feminist in Western culture). I hear arguments of individuals based upon the sins of the generations before us that refuse to take in the context of today.
When I was younger (not that I consider myself “old” by now) I was so sure with what I believed and I would bare my teeth at anything that challenged it. As I have grown in years, faith and understanding I have realized that my beliefs aren’t this precious little treasure chest to protect and keep safely away from adversity. I have come to realize that if my views face adversity at the cost of my values that my view is compromised. If I can’t hold a conversation with another who has different ideas without maintaining my patience, integrity, and honor of this other person as a fellow human being than is what I believe worth believing?
You will find that if you ask me what I feel about many issues that I have strong views for what I think based upon what I value. So lately I have had to ask myself why I value what I believe. I won’t lie that there are views out there that grate my nerves to no end and that I’m not going to accept everything as my personal opinions. There are so many perspectives I want to call out for the unproductive and hurt they cultivate and I want to sincerely convict the people who can inspired by such bitterness. And what I have have realized about the mini campaigns I want to start is that until I can articulate what I believe not out of hatred for those bitter views but out of love for those directly affected by them that I’m not ready to speak.
With all that said it has become a true challenge in my heart to be the person of conviction that I desire to be while having grace for others of equal conviction and different ideas. Can I think that they’re wrong and not slander them? Yes. Is it possible to recognize the their views with respect despite of how they contradict your own? Yes. Can you stand for what you believe without inciting belittlement? Yes.
If what you believe can’t let you answer yes to those questions I just asked than what do you need to adjust in your lenses of perspective?
A challenge for myself and for you are to now ask these questions:
If you can’t converse but fight every time you brush up against a different view than what do you have to do to change?
Can you see conflict as a positive opportunity to understand varying views so that you can embrace yours all the more?
Can you stand up for what you hold dear without inciting hate for others?
Do you value people over ideas?
Have you taken a stand on something far removed from your personal life that might be changed if you had to come face to face with it? Consider the issues of abortion, Syrian refugees, guns, etc.
Can you manage conflict with the understanding that it doesn’t mean a result in bitterness, closed mindedness and disconnection?
If what you love about your belief is based upon hate for something else can you tell me it’s love?
If you have come to claim your belief not out of sincere desire for whatever it is but rather by a dislike for something else than I pray that you can see what you are missing. If your belief isn’t motivated by faith, hope and love than I also pray that you can open your eyes to what is lacking in such an idea system. If your belief requires you to set a barricade between you and others who see things differently than I hope you question that necessity.
With so much love,