As a writer of fiction who tries to incorporate a Christian message, and as a mother of three young children, and as a human being navigating what may not be the WORST era of human history but surely ranks among the top ten, I am flummoxed (I just love that word, btw) about how to teach my kids to be decent human beings in a world where we have made idols out of our feelings. Not to offend anyone, but I’m starting to get a little offended about how offended people are getting about being offended, or offending, or something.
I’m sure some reading this will give me a ‘hell YEAH’ and some will think I’m a bigoted hater, so my disclaimer is that I honestly have no agenda against any group per se, other than ones from any camp that insist on polarizing issues into two sides, expressing intolerance for opposing views, and being mean. If I have any overriding credo, it’s that mean people suck (sorry for using the ‘s’ word, Mom, but a credo’s a credo).
As a parent, I want my kids to know that you treat everyone with respect and compassion. I want them to know that most people think of themselves as good, and can exhibit traits of astounding goodness. And that the same people can exhibit traits of astounding evil. I have no reservation about teaching my kids that ever since humans decided they had the power to decide (know) what was good and evil, i.e. that truth was relative, it’s been a downhill slide, leading to where we are today.
These opinions come out in my writing too. Sometimes subtly, and sometimes loudly and often (I feel) downright bumble-y and awkwardly, kind of like when I try to wing my eyeliner, but it gets hidden in my new eye-wrinkles, so I just look like a had an accident. I used to feel okay about expressing my opinions, and thought of myself as a burrito…a lot of things jumbled together, sometimes too spicy, and not for everyone. But in an eat-clean world, burritos are viewed with suspicion, revulsion, and a general desire to ban them from the menu.
I believe with everything in me that I can think someone else is wrong, or did a bad thing, and not hate that someone. People should be able to go about their lives without worrying if I approve of them, and that my approval is not needed for them to make decisions. By the same token, I don’t think anyone should be allowed to throw bricks at me, lock me up, or chop off my head if we have different beliefs, and I’m perfectly fine with not being allowed to do that to them either. (Disclaimer: I sometimes do want to throw bricks at people who believe they have the right to walk really slowly in front of me in crowded venues. But I don’t, okay? I just don’t. It’s called restraint and I think there should be more of it).
The problem is that it seems like I am in a rapidly dwindling minority about the whole right to an opinion without hating thing.
To give an example of about the most controversial topic I can think of (because hey, burrito), just the other day, I saw someone on Facebook share an article that was anti-abortion. One of the commenters advised the poster that she should be careful, because someone she knew might have had an abortion. It was only after the poster shared that she, too, had had an abortion that she was ‘allowed’ to have an opinion. What???? This is the crazy that I’m talking about.
First of all, can’t someone think abortion is a bad thing to do without having done it herself? If she didn’t have one, but said she thought it was bad to have one, why can’t she say so? Because it hurts someone’s feelings that she thought they did a bad thing? It’s not like you’re going to DIE if someone thinks you’re wrong, is it? Actually, given the news lately, I guess that’s not true anymore…that’s where we’re headed.
Here’s the thing, though: I can think you did a bad thing without thinking you’re a bad person. It happens about a million times a day when you’re a parent. If I thought my kids weren’t worth loving every time they did something I didn’t like, I’d have given them away by noon the day after they were born.
If we are all supposed to think the exact same thing all the time, and never disagree, why are there different colored cars? Hmmmm??? Riddle me THAT Batman. How long before someone gets offended because my having a silver car means I don’t like their purple car, and therefore I’m a purple car-hater and shouldn’t be allowed to have a car at all. Or what if some of the purple car people wake up and believe that their cars are orange, and insist I call their cars orange too? And what if I say okay, knock yourselves out, but I still think your car is purple, and THEN they say that I hate orange and that they’ll sue me if I say that I think the car is purple? Or, what if it turns out I’m wrong, and what I think is purple actually IS orange? Why can’t the purple – I mean orange – car people go about their business, knowing what color their car is and not really caring about my opinion? It’s obvious (or is it), that no one should be be allowed to prevent anyone from having cars just because we disagree on what color they are. Right? Right??
So at the end of the day, all I really want is for people to read Grace Group and send me a review…hahaha kidding. Not kidding. And to have beliefs, stick by them, and not be mean. And to make a point of NOT walking right in front of me at a slower pace than me. That is all.
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PS I’ve written 10 tips on dealing with multiple (conflicting) priorities. If you’d like a free copy, just click here!