Bridging the Divided

Clanging Cymbals…..

We spend our whole lives judging the outside of people, never realizing the inside is what matters. The essence of who we are cannot be seen with the naked eye; the essence of who we are is tucked away in the spirit. All anyone sees are the outward manifestations of the inward spirit. When will we realize the only thing that matters is how we treat others?

Recently, friends of ours lost their youngest child. Their youngest, born female on the outside, chose to identify as male. Surely, this was not a decision made in haste. We have all heard others say people like our friends’ child were looking for attention, were mixed up, needed counseling, and the like. I have known several people in my life who have chosen the tough road to be true to themselves, rather than play it safe and keep who they were tucked away in the shadows. That does not sound like a decision made in haste, a cry for attention, mixed up, or in need of counseling. The need for counseling comes into play when individuals choosing to be true to themselves are the victims of hate crimes, intolerance, and bullying. 

We have a daughter who is gay. We love her, support her and her fiance, and respect them for choosing to live in the light and being true to themselves. There are family members who disagree. We love these family members but are concerned about their willingness to judge lifestyles rather than celebrate the inward essence of compassionate, gentle, and loving people. More times than I can count, I have heard “I can’t accept” or “I won’t accept” about our daughter’s decision, and the decisions of others who have chosen to be true to themselves. But it isn’t about what we can tolerate, or accept, is it? How do the decisions of others to outwardly express their inward essence affect me? It doesn’t unless I choose to let the decisions of those choosing to be true to themselves stand between us. Agree to disagree, but severing ties because of a disagreement about honoring one’s essence is the ultimate expression of intolerance.

Ask yourself this: if a person is a murderer, an abuser, is hateful and destructive but is heterosexual, is that person better off in my eyes than someone who is loving compassionate, and kind but is homosexual? The answer reveals a great deal about one’s priorities and values. 

I hold the people who preach intolerance in the name of God accountable for those who answer the murderer is more acceptable than the loving person in the above question. The intolerance-speak is disguised as love and concern for the eternal souls of those who do not embrace archaic religious doctrines. Who says the Bible, or any sacred texts associated with other world religions, are the inerrant words of God? Please do not misunderstand, I am not disrespecting the Bible or other sacred texts. I do believe, however, the opinions of mankind found their way into the Bible and other sacred writings, but opinions are not the same as facts. And opinions have caused divisiveness, destruction of relationships, and hate crimes.

We would live in a much different world if we embraced the teachings of Yeshua (Jesus), and others, who focused on building relationships instead of tearing them down. The Bible, and other sacred texts, lay foundations for treating others with love and respect. If we believe God is love, any beliefs whose focus is intolerance cannot be from God. I think the words of Paul as recorded in I Corinthians 13 sum it up pretty well: “Love is patient, love is kind, love keeps no record of wrongs. If I speak in the tongues of men and angels but do not love, I am like a banging gong or a clanging cymbal…..”

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