Someone I knew a long time ago used to say “Opinions are like people’s behinds, everyone has one”. (I cleaned it up a bit for this post). It’s true. We all have an opinion and we could never ever possibly agree all of the time. The cool thing about our country is that we have freedom of speech and voicing our opinions is a real privilege. We should value that privilege because many don’t have it and we also might learn from others.
Our differences should not divide us but inspire us to consider more. Maybe they should inspire us to consider other possible ways of thinking or even believing. When differences are excessive, then we might be way too different to hang around one another and setting ourselves apart is usually necessary. Sometimes our differences can just be one opinion or another though. Shutting those out will deny ourselves the gift of who we are to one another and also in learning from each other.
I’m so blessed when people don’t delete me when I am struggling because I might need someones opinion. But when they do delete me they deny themselves the ability to be a gift to someone else’s pain. Trivial differences should be let go and we can agree to disagree. Its only when our disagreements have become excessive that we should consider setting ourselves apart. Or maybe if someone is hurting us and it is self preservation to keep them from doing so. Purposefully confrontational people can drag us into the mud very fast and zap our energy.
Personally, I’ve had to distance myself from those whose opinions become domineering and therefore hurtful to me. Or, sometimes I take the hint and back off when I think there are too many issues that can not be resolved. Yet, for those where there are only minor differences of opinion I tend to stick around to learn from one another. We can’t all be the same all of the time or we might end up doing a remake of that old movie “The Stepford Wives” and just become robots or clones of one another.
I don’t like to see people alone and hurting and I sure don’t like to be the one who is dumped onto the side lines of someone’s life over minor things because it DOES hurt.
Sooner or later we need to realize that God gives us the power and strength to be strong for others when they are weaker or even in the face of disagreement. Life is not a race against each other, it is a race we run with God for the regeneration of our soul. During Jesus’ time the outcasts used to be set outside of the city because they did not measure up according to the law. If their sinfulness was adultery they were stoned to death.
I like Jesus’ response regarding a woman who was caught in adultery. “Let he/she who is without sin cast the first stone.”
Love you anyway,
Pastor Jenine Marie Howry
(Yep, still called even with all my bumps and lumps)