Worthy of Love

I saw a post on Facebook a couple of days ago that said, “Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy”.  And it really got to me.  It was posted on a faith-based page, and I think it’s primarily directed towards Christians, but we could all benefit from adopting this attitude.

There is no passage in the Bible that contains qualifiers for the mandate to love one another.  Nowhere does it say, “love people who deserve it”, or “love people who never sin” or “love people who love you in return”.  It just says, LOVE one another.  There is no restriction on age, color, creed, gender, sexual orientation, wealth, or any other of those lame excuses we come up with to justify NOT loving one another.

So the challenge for us as Christians (and I dare say everyone else too) is to decide what actions constitute loving one another unconditionally.  No restrictions or qualifiers.  One need not embrace the homosexual lifestyle to love a homosexual, just as we don’t have to be the same color in order to love one another.  I guess I developed this attitude pretty early on in life, because one of my very best friends in early elementary school was a black girl, and I was completely baffled as to why the color of her skin should have any bearing on whether or not we should be friends, any more than someone’s hair color or eye color should.  I never really have understood that.

This also kind of underlines how prejudice is a LEARNED behavior.  We don’t pop out of the womb automatically disliking someone based solely on some random characteristic; the sad truth is that we TEACH this to our children.  We teach them by words and deeds to treat someone differently because of their beliefs, their race, or who they choose to spend their lives with.

Until we reach the point where it simply doesn’t matter, we haven’t found true equality.  This includes those who think they should be treated better simply because their group has been treated so poorly in the past.  In fact, even if you personally have been mistreated, it doesn’t mean that you are entitled to preferential treatment to “make up” for it.  That’s not any more equality than the mistreatment.

So that should be our goal: to get the the point where it makes absolutely no difference what color you are, or where you were born, or who you love.  I can love you regardless, for I should not be judging whether you are “worthy”.  That is the pinnacle of equality.

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A Commentary on the Changing Face of Christian Politics

At first I was just going to share this article on the Changing Face of Christian Politics, but I quickly realized I had more comments to make than I could reasonably place in a Facebook status.  I encourage you to read the entire article (yes, even non-Christians).  There are so many great points, not the least of which are:

1. “Surely we (Christians) want to be known for what we are FOR” (not what we are against).  In my experience, although the majority of non-Christians seem to assume that the confrontational zealots that keep getting handed a microphone are representative of ALL Christians, in reality most Christians are far more interested in peace.  Even those who are uncomfortable around homosexuals usually do not actively hate homosexuals, as is often portrayed.  Most Christians believe that it is possible to love people you don’t agree with, regardless of the point of contention.  Unfortunately, it is the combative, oppositional hard-liners that tend to get the most media coverage, because the media loves a conflict most of all.  Drama gets viewers.  And that fault lies with all of us, because WE’RE the viewers.

2.  “”Why,” he asked, “is our go-to political strategy for beating our opponents to silence them? Why do we dismiss, rather than engage them?”….ending a conversation is vastly different from winning an argument.”  We seem to want to silence or dismiss opposing views especially in instances when the opposition is speaking very loudly.  In some cases, it doesn’t matter if the opposition has some valid points (even if we don’t agree with them).  Let me ask you this question:  If you are so confident in your position, why are you so threatened by someone presenting an opposing view?  Ending a conversation by silencing it through censure or dismissing it with a shrug and a “well, they’re just ignorant, uneducated, delusional, etc is not at all the same thing as carrying on a productive discourse and finding common ground.  It is not at all the way to make any progress.

 And we’ve got to stop letting people cry “free speech” for their own malicious words, but then call for censure of the opposing viewpoint (or that they lose their job).  It seems to be a knee-jerk reaction: I should be able to say ANYTHING I want, without repercussions, because of “free speech”. That’s a load of tripe.  Free speech only allows you to say what you want (specifically, against the government) without being arrested.  It was never intended to protect you from the consequences of your words.  Free speech does not protect you from losing your job if you are hateful and disrespectful to your boss, neither does it protect you from disdain if you choose to express your opinion in a vindictive manner. I’m not saying people who want to speak out against (perceived or real) wrongs should keep their mouths shut.  But many of the most passionate people seem to have completely lost the ability (or desire) to carefully choose their words. There is no need to sugar coat things, but neither is there a need to attack and condemn.  We MUST not appoint ourselves judge, jury, and executioner, regardless of the topic of discussion. .  I don’t care what the topic is, we should be able to express our beliefs without dehumanizing others.  If you are incapable of doing that, you should stay away from the microphone until you grow up a bit.  Or until your language skills improve.

3.  “A Christianity that seeks to unilaterally impose itself on the nation is unlikely be fruitful, but it is similarly unrealistic and unproductive to force a secular morality on believers.”  I believe that this is the fundamental flaw in the “right-wing” approach in recent years.  First of all, Christians need to realize that we are NOT the only ones who live in this country.  And the country belongs to all of those other people too.  To try to legislate our version of morality is not only wrong, it is completely counterproductive.  No true change is brought about by legislation alone.  You cannot force someone to believe in God, or it is not true faith.  But neither should non-believers try to force their beliefs (or lack thereof) upon Christians.  There has been such an intense backlash against Christianity recently that it is shocking sometimes the malice with which non-Christians speak of Christians.  Granted, the aforementioned heavy-handed bigots are deserving of the backlash, but do not assume that all Christians are just as vicious.  And do not assume that just because some Christians ARE hateful, that you must in turn be spiteful to every Christian you ever encounter.

4.  If gay people are to be afforded dignity as those made in the image of God, what does this require of our rhetoric? What does it require of our laws?  This applies not only to gay rights, but to every other moral debate going on in the political arena today.  Do the right-wing extremists take this concept into consideration when they are trying to force restrictive laws upon the American people?  Do run-of-the-mill Christians like me consider this statement when we interact with homosexuals, prostitutes, thieves, embezzlers, liars, or any other human who has ever done anything we don’t approve of (ie, all humans, including me)?

5.  “We need leaders, and people to support them, who recognize that the question for this century is not “how do I win?” but “how can we live together?””  This is really the crux of the matter.  If we cannot get past our desire to “win” and instead work towards finding common ground in this world we share, we will never be able to have a productive conversation, much less a peaceful nation.  Which one is more important to you?  Figure out which one you value more, and you will act accordingly.

Organize a Little Closet

Here’s another great organizational article from Life Hacker.

How to Organize a Lot of Clothing in Very Little Closet Space

Funny Parenting Hacks

There are some great ideas in this article on parenting.  There are so many challenges in parenting, it’s always nice when you can find some fun and easy things to do to make your life a little brighter!

Minimalist Connoisseurs

Here’s another great article from Becoming Minimalist, which expresses exactly what I’d like to continue to work toward.

Here’s the crux of the article:

Think about it:

  • When you clear the clutter from your closet, what are you doing if not making room for the enjoyment of the few quality items you keep?
  • When you sell off unneeded books and gadgets and toys, what are you doing if not highlighting the usefulness of the ones that remain?
  • When you create space in your life, when you empty your schedule, or your inbox, or your to-do list, what are you doing if not making room for better experiences, better communication, better work?

 

People who are working towards minimalism are (usually) not denying themselves of the joys of life.  They’re focusing on the things that are truly meaningful and getting rid of all the other garbage.