Saturday, 20 April 2013

To love - to tolerate - to humiliate

I posted this on Facebook and thought I'd share here for those who aren't on it.

I posted my joy over the passing of the "gay marriage bill' in NZ the other day, and of course, in the middle of the joy and relief, the haters jumped on board.

There was a lot of rhetoric, much heated gainsaying, and plenty of plain pigheadedness from just about everyone, but in particular from those against gay marriage and homosexuality in general.

But here's the thing - in the middle of all that, some of us started to try to understand each other. A glimmer of willingness to be wrong crept in and opened the door to real dialog. As the dust began to settle, genuine questions opened up, and reality kicked in. Some of those who were slamming gays and just demanding repentance, began to listen and ask questions from the heart, challenging, and responding with respect.

That is what its all about! I have the utmost respect for those people. I could see them struggling to understand, with genuine concerns, but still asking and listening.

So often we write people off before we give them our hearts and try to open up real dialog. Time after time I've seen, when I get off my bandwagon, stop taking offence and treat people with the same respect I expect, things start to change. Sometimes it can take time, and you may never agree, but the point is, you start to understand each other, respect each others opinions.

I have seen so much arrogance and disrespect for people. People acting catty and self righteous, proud and intolerant. And the worse thing is its not just from the pharisees and religious fundies. I've seen so many people who talk of grace and love not even taking the time to use basic communication skills, no respect for the journey others are on, no tolerance for bigotry and hatred they may well have carried in the past themselves!

We will never all agree on doctrines or "what the bible says"! But if we are lacking the decency to listen, to draw out each other's hearts with integrity, to extend the love and grace to others we expect, even when they are lashing out at us - then we are no better and need to go back to Gospel 101.

I stand guilty myself on so many occasions. I have reacted and shamed people, told them they are bigoted wankers and worse. But seeing as I am one with God, I should be able to display his love, endless patience and tolerance as he has extended it to me. I apologize for all those I have offended by my intolerance - yes you may have been total assholes to me, but that isn't the point. I have to take responsibility for my heart and my attitude - not yours!

We will always get those who refuse even the most heart felt call to understanding, and we may have to end communication and relationship to avoid damage to each other. But the moment we react in the same spirit, when we sarcastically belittle them, label them with ignorance and mock them, we have just disappeared up our own anal orifice and lost hope of any integrity we may have been clutching too.

If we don't practice this grace we are so vocal about, we need to go back to square one and start again.