Howdy folks...Guess it's about time for another entry for my many adoring fans. Hahahaha...Of course that's a joke. So, it's been about 3 weeks since my last post, and I'm just about to bust to share all my news with you. Actually, that's not true...I really have no "news" to share with you, but I am going to open up my heart today about something that's has been weighing on my mind.
Tomorrow is election day in Mississippi. For some people, this is going to be a day of anguish, for others it will be a day of celebration. I'll be one of the people trying to get through the day with my sanity intact. You see, I've reached the pinnacle of my patience in recent weeks with all of the hate and negativity that has become such a daily part of our lives, and much of it is directly related to the current political landscape of the country and our state.
When I was a kid, I was taught that there were certain subjects that you just didn't discuss in public because they were too sensitive and private....sex, politics, and religion. I've tried to be a voice of reason and understanding during my adult years, but I have taken a stance on these issues when I thought it necessary. Don't take this to mean that I am afraid or embarrassed about my beliefs...I AM NOT! I assure you, I am quite willing to defend EVERYTHING I believe in. What I have NO desire to do, at any time or in any setting, is to become a "mouthpiece" of prejudice, hate, or bigotry.
My beliefs are MY beliefs! Your beliefs are YOURS! I am never going to push the way I feel or believe onto someone else. I am an advocate for EVERYONE'S right to their own beliefs...If you respect mine, I will respect yours! Unfortunately, the world teaches us that people who are "different" or "disagree" with us, not matter what the subject, are wrong and we have some sort of moral responsibility/superiority that makes it acceptable to attack them for these differences.
Well, I don't think you could be more wrong! Hey...I just disagreed publicly with some of you...Before you go off on me about being hypocritical, please think about what I'm saying. I am defending your right to have your own belief system...what I am condemning is the misguided belief that your beliefs are somehow superior and/or correct when compared to your neighbors.
God has been so gracious to me during my lifetime! If I received the treatment I deserved, my soul would be unforgiven and condemned to eternal damnation...But Jesus committed the ultimate act of love and sacrifice and gave his life for me and for my sins, those I've committed and the ones that I will commit during my imperfect life. So, who am I to judge my fellow man? Even if I DON'T agree with someone, I don't have to publicly attack or shame them. I CAN go them, in love, and talk to them...but not with a heart of condemnation or belief in my own superiority!
It hurts my soul to the core when I see family or friends (old or new) that are so grounded in the belief that they are superior to others, that they believe that it is their God given "right" to publicly attack or condemn others who are different. Social media has become a cornerstone of "sharing" for our society, but it has morphed beyond what I believed was it's original intent. I'll use Facebook as my example, but it really applies to all forms of social media.
When I first joined FB, I believed it was to be a platform for friends and family to share about themselves, their kids, and the daily happenings in their lives. Over time, I became engrossed in the politics of the day, and the use of social media to serve an "agenda". For me, the agenda took on a negative, angry, and aggressive life of it's own. So...I quit! For about 3 years, I was a ghost to social media. I was asked by many a family member or friend, "What happened to you on FB? You were on there all the time!"
And I was...unfortunately, I let social media begin to influence me in many negative ways. I finally reached a point where I couldn't stand the thought of even looking at a FB post....and I went into social media "hibernation".
It is only recently that I have reemerged onto the social media scene, but with an entirely new perspective. My hope and prayer is that my social media footprint will be only one of love and hope...and the belief that just because we believe in different things, it doesn't mean that you are wrong, that I am wrong, or that we can't still be friends and love each other. By the way...that's why most of my posts are just photos of the Crosses I make. I can think of NO greater example of love and forgiveness.
While we're at it, there's something else I want to get off my chest. Can we please quit playing this "blame game" for EVERYTHING?!?! We are all God's children and if you strip away the outer covering we all carry, we really are the same! I'm bone tired of being expected to apologize to the world for things that I HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH!!! Please think about this...we DO NOT choose what race or gender we are! I also refuse to apologize for what happened before my lifetime (...be it 10, 100, or 1,000 years ago)!
Yes, I have, in my past, been guilty of behavior that I'm not proud of. Be it racial, gender, or age based, I am quite certain that I have behaved incorrectly in my past. It isn't something I can change now, but I have prayed for forgiveness to my God, and when possible, sought the forgiveness of the person/persons I wronged. As I go forward in my life, I also pray for God to soften my heart and reveal to me these mistakes. This is all I can really do.
And yet, there are people who still today apply blanket accusations or applications of their standards to entire groups of people based on their race, gender, age, political beliefs, or sexual orientation (...just to name a few). Just because I consider myself a Conservative, this does not mean that I am also a Republican. I actually vote for the candidate that I believe will do the best job for the voters. Just because I'm a Christian, this does not mean that I hate Muslims or Jews. I've had friends who were non-Christians who I have loved dearly. We just agreed to disagree. Just because I'm a heterosexual, this does not mean that I hate homosexuals. I have family and friends who I love and respect that are homosexual.
PLEASE, just remember, if you hate Conservative Christians because of their race, or Christian heterosexuals just because of their beliefs, you are being bigoted and prejudicial yourself. Every time we make a statement about those "white Christian conservatives" or those "liberal gay democrats", we are being intolerant and promoting hate and condemnation because they may be different from us. If you expect people to respect and tolerate you, how can you justify this?
I'm not advocating that you change your beliefs, only that you remember that we are all God's children. Maybe your friendship or your daily example will help lead someone to change their lives, but I can assure you, if you attack and condemn someone just because they have differences from you, you will just drive them away.
I'll bet that someone is going to read this and say "WHAT A FOOL!" Oh well...Maybe some day, we can quit seeing beyond the color of our skin, the politicians we support, the amount of money we make, or what house we live in...maybe we can judge ourselves before we judge our neighbors and remember that WE ARE ALL GOD'S CHILDREN!
PEACE & LOVE
Husband, father, sinner saved by the Grace of God, old teacher, wood-worker, bad golfer, USM Golden Eagle (forever) and MSU Bulldog lover (It's a daughter thing)