Rockin’ those rose-colored glasses
In my last post I referenced the call on a Christian’s life to love others, even our enemies. I thought today I would break down what I understand that to mean…what that looks like.
First, what it doesn’t mean. Loving someone who hates, disagrees with, or disregards me does not mean I feel all warm and fuzzy when I am with them or think of them. I don’t long to share intimate thoughts with them, enjoy long walks hand in hand, or grow old together. Loving them doesn’t even mean I have to like them.
Real love, the kind of love we are to have for our neighbor, is not a feeling but an attitude and an action. And it’s summed up pretty well (yes, Jesus, I give you props for this ;-)) in the Golden Rule, Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. If I would like others to give me a break for my humanness and treat me with respect and consideration, I must also do the same.
I have found it not too difficult to treat everyone with respect and consideration when I am with them, but that may be more the markings of good training by my parents than an intentional attitude of love. What I struggle with is having a consistently loving attitude toward others even when I am not with them, and especially toward people I’ve never met.
But I know what it looks like, because I know Jesus. I know that when I read about gay activists unfairly targeting a Christian for his beliefs I should not get angry, first of all. Yes, there’s a place for righteous anger but it shouldn’t be directed at individuals. Instead, I should look at these real people through the eyes of Jesus, which is only possible because of His indwelling Spirit. Just as He looked with love on the Roman soldiers who crucified Him saying, “Father, forgive them. They know not what they do”, I should do the same.
Looking through “rose-colored glasses” has definite negative connotations, but I would like to put a positive spin on the expression. Because, “Roses are red, violets (though totally unnecessary to my illustration here) are blue. The heart, which is traditionally seen as the locus of love, is red. And so love is too.” All of that slightly silly poetic revisionism to say that loving others means looking at them through the filter of love. So when I read a contentious quote from a faceless gay rights supporter, I must intentionally (and figuratively) put on my rose-colored glasses by asking myself, how would Jesus see this person? If this person was my child, how would I view their comments…and them?
Knowing what Jesus would do is pretty easy to discern, simply from the Gospel records. He would have compassion on them, knowing they are created and known by God, with unique histories that probably include trials, injustices, failures as well as triumphs, fears, unmet needs and desires, and actions motivated by some sense of morality, all wrapped up in a fragile soul that just wants to be loved. This pretty much describes me, by the way.
So, as a Christ follower, I go where He leads. I reject the temptation to criticize and categorize as ignorant or misguided and allow Him to remind me that He loves them and so should I. And that I am not perfect and don’t know everything. I don’t hesitate, if given the opportunity, to respectfully disagree, but my motivation should always be to honor God and be used by Him to be a light in a dark world so that others will come to know Him. Not to win an argument or be proven right.
*Sigh* Sometimes I get a little bummed about not being allowed to criticize because it feels good to think myself better than others. Isn’t this perceived need to pump ourselves up a primary reason why we find it difficult to love? But then my Father reminds me how much it pleases Him when I humble myself and reject criticism and choose compassion and love instead. And I know that the more I please my Father who loves me, the more pleasure it will bring me as well.
So I’ve come up with a new little poem for when I’m confronted with individuals or groups whose political, societal, or religious views seem to butt heads with mine: Don’t mock the misguided masses. You rock those rose-colored glasses. Girl. 🙂
Very beautiful sentiments though I think you’re misunderstanding the nature of the Chick-Fil-A fiasco. It’s nowhere near as simple as non-believers picking on a helpless Christian for standing up for his convictions. I can send you links with the truth embedded within them if you’d like. Aside from that, I’m glad you’re still going strong with the writing!
Thanks for your comments and encouragement. I would be interested to read what you have, as long as it’s coming from a reliable source.
Do you think I would provide you with anything less? But I ask, what do you really mean when you say reliable? Are you willing to accept evidence that goes against your own claims in an attempt to save face? Or will you admit that this issue is not as simple as you once thought, after reading what I show you?
I chose HP but I could have easily chosen a variety of other news sources. If you don’t like what HP has to say, I can easily provide you with others.
I chose Snopes because they are solely dedicated to dispelling or confirming various rumours or statements. They have no hidden agenda aside from truth.
All the best.
What exactly is the “truth” in these articles that you believe somehow sheds new light on the issue, T?
“I know that when I read about gay activists unfairly targeting a Christian for his beliefs I should not get angry, first of all.”
I was merely commenting on the misunderstanding of the situation. You made Cathy out to be a victim, unfairly picked on for merely defending his religious beliefs. But that’s not the entire picture. That’s not even a large part of it. He wasn’t minding his own business and then all of a sudden the LGBT community attacked him and his business. He made an anti-gay remark and then people began to investigate his actions. What they uncovered was that he had given money to groups to oppose their political and social rights. So he’s not the victim, rather he’s the villain in the scenario (at least to some people). My point was that you weren’t appropriately depicting the situation, that’s all.
Seems to me the operative phrase here is “appropriately depicting.” How you and I interpret the situation depends on our individual perspectives. But let’s look at the facts.
Chick-fil-A’s foundation donated money to organizations that support the traditional understanding of marriage as between one man and one woman. This is how marriage has been defined in human society for literally thousands of years. Only in our generation has it been under attack with gays and their supporters trying to have it totally redefined, and they are having some success. But it doesn’t come without negative consequences that affect society as a whole. Those who recognize those consequences understandably are trying to stop the efforts to redefine it. Some see them as “anti-gay” while others see them as pro-family. It’s all in the way you “depict” it.
Gays believe they have the right to marry someone of their own sex. They have never had that right until the last decade or so and only in certain states. Yet they insist that everyone acknowledge it nonetheless and brand everyone who disagrees as anti-gay. That’s juvenile bullying, really.
What do you think the response would be from homosexuals if a different fast-food chain whose ownership was “anti-traditional marriage” and contributed to organizations pushing the gay agenda, was chastised, picketed, and called hateful and bigoted by pro-family citizens? If the shoe was on the other foot here, and these citizens were acting like LGBT supporters are now regarding Chick-fil-A, I believe they’d be appalled and would defend their right to help fund organizations that champion the causes they believe in.
Cathy’s “anti-gay” remark was simply a statement of his belief in and support for traditional marriage and biblical principles. His company’s policy is to treat all customers with respect and dignity, no matter what. To excoriate him and his company because you don’t agree with his beliefs regarding sexuality and marriage is no less than an assault on his rights of freedom of speech and religion, and grossly unfair. And the LGBT community would not stand for it if the tables were turned.
No, I don’t think you can disagree with the facts. Nonetheless, I will engage you.
You define Chick-Fil-A’s actions as merely supporting the traditional definition of marriage whereas, again, you ignore the negative side of the situation. Yes, they are supporting traditional marriage but they are also aiming to prevent the LGBT community from gaining equal rights and status under the law. In essence, they are preventing a group of people who is different from themselves from being treated impartially under the law. As for the argument that “that’s how we’ve done it for years,” that makes no sense. It has no validity. We practiced slavery for hundreds of years but still did away with that. Polygamy used to be the most common practice in the world but we’ve since switched to monogamy. Sacrificing animals and even humans to appease a deity used to be all the rage but it has since stopped. So the argument from history fails. Just because society has endorsed one practice for an extended period of time does not mean that it is correct or even above scrutiny. So no, this claim falls flat on its face as you yet again ignore the negative aspect of the situation.
And I will agree with you that hate speech is much too common. Nonetheless, Christians who opposed gay marriage are not without fault either. They make plenty of hateful slurs and say things that no one, especially not “Christians,” should say. So with this criticism, you need to keep in mind the old maxim “When you point the finger, you have three pointing back at yourself.”
Furthermore, I don’t think your scenario is plausible in the least. It’s such an unlikely hypothetical situation that it doesn’t warrant a full response. Also, avoid the “tables are turned” scenarios in future discussions. It’s highly unlikely that the LGBT community would ever aim to curtail the civil rights and liberties of another group, especially a group that is the majority.
And again, it’s not his remarks that were the focus of the entire situation. It was his actions and the inappropriate use of his company’s profits to deny the equality of another group of human beings that caused an uproar. I’ve told many of my bigoted friends this: you have the right to believe what you want. You can think gay marriage is an abomination and that it’s a symptom of a dying and rotting society. You can believe that homosexuality is a sin and the cause of God’s wrath. I think you’re foolish if you believe that, but you have the right to it nonetheless and you have the right to express it. But once your beliefs and opinions change from mere speech into action and that action is negative, that’s when it is unacceptable. Once you aim to harm another person or group of people or prevent them from enjoying the same civil rights and liberties that you do, that’s when it’s immoral, inappropriate, and bigoted. That’s when it becomes a hate issue. If you didn’t hate them, you wouldn’t care enough to take such harsh actions against them.
In response, T, let me just begin by stating for the record that I believe that you, and most gay rights supporters, are not out to denigrate me and other Christians for our beliefs but are wanting to stand up against what you see as an injustice. It’s just that we disagree about whether denying homosexuals the right to marry someone of their own sex is, in fact, that. We see the issue very differently and both of us have good reasons for our evaluations based on our perspectives.
Since I accepted your challenge to defend opposition to gay marriage on your blog, I won’t repeat my defense here. I would like to ask, however, that you please show me the same respect I show you. Telling me to “avoid the ‘tables are turned’ scenarios in future discussions” is a bit of high-handed arrogance that will not serve to persuade anyone. And accusing me of hating gays is unfair and manipulative.
You’re a young man, I believe, not a balding, pipe-smoking, elderly one. And I’m probably old enough to be your mother, so I will chalk it up to idealistic immaturity.
I would like to be able to continue having spirited, yet friendly debates. And if you’re willing, we can.
I’m sorry that you were offended by my tables comment. It was not an attempt to convince you. My aim was merely to give you advice for future discussions with other people, such as myself, who find the playing the victim rouse to be inappropriate and inconsiderate. You may not think you were playing the victim but that’s how it came across to me and so I responded accordingly. From my point of view it was a red herring and had nothing to do with the issue at hand. So while you may have taken an emotional or psychological aversion to my advice, that is not my fault. My intention was to give you practical and logical advice for your future endeavours. That advice, of course, is yours to take and utilize or leave and forsake.
As for the last part, I am sorry for my tone. That particular rant was aimed more at some my friends whose beliefs are more extreme than your own and they are unable to have civilized discussions as we are. Regardless, I should have clarified and made sure to avoid such invective. I don’t think you’re bigoted, though I stand by my statement that those who deny gay marriage, on a narrow scale, and legal equality for the LGBT community on a broader scale, on religious, rather than say, empirical or philosophical, grounds have mistaken views that ought to be rectified. Perhaps foolish is a bit strong, whereas misguided would be more appropriate and less inflammatory. So for that, I apologize.
But finally, calling me immature does nothing to establish your own superiority whether it be moral or intellectual. Regarding the former, I think Matthew 5:39 exemplifies what I’m trying to say. Regarding the latter, wisdom does not necessarily increase with age and those who are more aged do not necessarily deserve more respect just because they are older. I will continue to respect you and try to refrain from ad hominem attacks in the future, but I will also not don kiddie gloves when discussing important issues and I hope you would do me the same courtesy. But if, for whatever reason, this is to be our last interaction, aside from my upcoming response to your post on my Gay Marriage writing, I wish you nothing but the best in the future.
First of all, T, I too apologize for accusing you of immaturity. I didn’t like your tone and being told what I should do and I guess I bit back. Thank you for your apology. I don’t want this to be our last interaction because I value you as a fellow human and appreciate the chance to have a civil debate with someone with opposing views.
That being said, as it’s my turn at the podium ;-), I stand by my argument from “table-turning.” My point was not “that the LGBT community would ever aim to curtail the civil rights and liberties of another group,” (although I do believe that’s exactly what they’re doing with their protests and petitions against Chick-fil-A) but that they would also feel unfairly maligned if conservatives (just to simplify terminology) loudly objected to their financial support practices and personal beliefs and attempted to force them to change their policies and activities. I was pointing out the injustice of it by appealing to a different perspective, not “playing the victim.”
Regarding grounds for opposition to gay marriage, you believe moral ones are “mistaken” and “misguided” and I believe the same about those who deny them. We have a huge disconnect (not just you and I but atheists and believers) because we have very different frames of reference, and there’s really no chance of agreement as long as that remains true. Which is discouraging, yet it serves to remind me that it’s not about winning a debate but about winning hearts and souls. I can’t change your mind unless God changes your heart. I pray that He reveals Himself and His love for you someday.
In the meantime, we can continue to express our perspectives and positions while agreeing to disagree, and perhaps both at least develop a genuine respect for and understanding of “the other side.” I hope you are willing.
I’m glad that we are able to work things out and of course I want to continue our dialogues in the future.
I feel that you’re correct. There is just a huge disconnect between the two groups. We simply cannot find common starting ground to engage in a proper debate. I think we, believers and nonbelievers alike, need to step away from the debate aspect and focus more on the discussion aspect. At this point in time no one is going to convince the other to change their ways. That’s just a sad and sobering truth. But we can at least engage with each other sincerely and discuss the true reasons why we accept or reject something while at the same time acknowledging the strengths and weaknesses of our beliefs. So from now on, for me personally, whenever we engage on an issue, I’m just going to try to focus on questions and hypothetical situations to challenge your beliefs and I hope you’ll return the favor.