Why, when there is disagreement, does it have to so quickly descend to the lowest common denominator of hate, belittling and insult?
It isn't even just "the big stuff" anymore - it's everything. From the state of our nation (important) to how you wear your hair, the music you like, what kind of car you drive, the way you looked at me when we passed in the hall (not important).
There are important issues in our country, in our communities, in our schools, in our churches, around our dinner tables.
Politics of every imaginable stripe
And I see it on both sides. Nobody seems to hold exclusive rights to ignorance and hate when it comes to voicing our opinions.
Do you really believe that this behavior will cause someone to wake up and say, "Oh, I see my ignorance and blindness now. Thank you for showing me, in such an unlovely way, my complete idiocy." ?
I've never heard anyone say they were changed, for the better, by acts or words of condescension and judgment. Never. Not once.
Again - I've seen it on both sides - just in recent days and weeks - from every possible angle.
- An abortion rights video that made me want to cry for its mocking of life and the people that stand on the other side of the fence from them. I've also seen pro-life videos that made me want to scream because they are so incredibly judgmental and devoid of love.
- Gay rights/marriage equality issues are addressed, from both sides, in some of the most hateful, demeaning ways - both in the name of Christ. I'm pretty sure He is saddened by both.
- Gun control opinions that completely forget about the lives lost and the people left shattered while they practice their constitutional right to be insulting. Both sides.
- Evolution/intelligent design; new earth/old earth diatribes until I want to puke. Both sides.
- Democrat/Republican; left/right; liberal/conservative slams and insults until I can't even process them anymore.
- Friendships end, churches split, families torn, by doctrinal issues that we should be trusting God to sort out instead of casting stones at one another about.
I've also seen and heard these same issues discussed in loving, open ways - not necessarily coming to agreement, but walking away without destroying the person on the other side. Unfortunately, that is not very often.
And again. Hear me. They're important. They need to be discussed. But can we just stop and think about whether this is the best way to say it, the best place to say it, the best time to say it?
It's much easier to be hateful and insulting when you don't know and love someone that stands on the other side of the fence. When we insulate ourselves from those that are radically different from us, it becomes easier to make them less-than-human, less someone Jesus loves and more someone I need to be at war with.
Why is it more important that I be right, and everyone know it, than it is that I love?
They will know us by our rightness?
They will know us by our strong arguments?
They will know us by our excellent command of the English language?
They will know us by our stunning intellect?
They will know us by our ability to cut our opponents down to size?
They will know us by our love.