I’m in pain today. Honestly, I guess I’m just overwhelmed. I’ve been listening to a song by Drew Holcomb and his words keep ringing in my head, “It’s a strange and lovely world. It don’t make no sense to me. There are a few things I am sure of ain’t nobody got it easy.”
As I look across the landscape of events there seems to be a common theme rolling through it all. It seems to me that everyone feels like their group has been somehow slighted. The homosexual community feels slighted about not being able to marry. The Christians feel slighted because they don’t feel like the government has the right to infringe on marriage. The minority community feels slighted because of racial profiling. The cops feel slighted because they’re under a watchful eye which makes their very difficult job even harder. The gun owner feels slighted because they have a second amendment right that is under attack. The anti-gun crowd feels slighted because they feel their fears are falling on deaf ears.
The world is tearing apart at the seams in a very general sense because of a lack of contentment. Now, I fully realize the oversimplification that is being stated in each of these complex issues and that the parties listed have many more issues with their area of grievance than the ones stated but I do believe at the root of all their angst is the common reality that people want something they don’t have. Controversy. All around me. Controversy.
At times I just want everyone to shut up about it all. I get pretty anxious about conflict in general and I also tend to love people deeply, so when people I love are on different sides of conflict I’m pretty much useless. I tend to see both sides of everything really clearly and so I struggle at times. However, I know just shutting up doesn’t solve anything and that debate grows us all and helps shape perspectives in us. I love to meet people who are different than me and learn from them and their life experiences. I love diversity and I really believe it is an important part of societal functioning.
Now to be clear I have strong opinions about the issues mentioned but I don’t find a lot of productive conversation via social media. I would much rather grab coffee with someone from the opposing view and learn about them and what shaped their belief than go tit for tat on Facebook. For example, if you know my story, you know that I engaged in homosexual activity as a child and through my adolescence. If we sat down and discussed homosexual marriage you would find out how these experiences shaped my stance on the issue.
How do we choose sides anyway? Have we really sat down and thought deeply about the things we believe or are we just regurgitating our favorite news anchor. Do we just buy into what mom and dad taught us or do we seek it out ourselves. Do we just follow the crowd that we want to fit into or the celebrity we want to be like or are we intentionally coming to our own conclusions?
But in all of this there is a common desire that exists in each argument that we may be missing and that is the desire to be right. We are screaming for justice but what we are looking for is actually justification. You see, somewhere along the way we decided that if we are right then it doesn’t matter how we treat those who are wrong and so we walk around assuming that we have it figured out and being jerks. If the Christians are right that they justified in talking down to the homosexuals. If the homosexual community is right than they are justified in calling the christians close minded bigots. If the minority community is right than they can scream “racism” and if the white community is right than they can continue to be dismissive and numb to racial issues.
I think I’ve landed in no man's land and I’m stuck here because at the end of the day I think all of us are doing the best we can with what we have and what we know. If a kid grows up in a racist family that lives in a racist town and goes to a racist church than he will be racist until he makes a choice to open his eyes to the other side. Drew Holcomb in another song I love says it this way, “Everyones got their own set of troubles, everyones got their own set of blues. Everyones got their own set of struggles. Walk a mile in another man’s shoes.” In each of these debates there is probably a right and wrong side but lets be honest, no one is 100% sure that they’re on the right side. We’re all just looking at the world through the lense we have and trying to figure it out the best we know how.
One of the popular hashtags this week was #Lovewins but that’s simply not true. Love didn’t win. Love didn’t win because we still only love those on our side. Love won’t win until we chose to love people who are different than us. Love won’t win until we are willing to stop lazily fighting for our causes from behind the protection of our computer screens. Love won’t win until we sit knee to knee with “those people” and begin to see that there is a heart, soul, and feelings on the other side of the issue. Love wins when we stop fighting to be right and start fighting to be kind, when we stop seeking justification and start truly seeking justice. Love wins when we recognize that “ain’t nobody got it easy” and take the time to understand them. Love wins when we begin to seek the truth and share it for the purpose of setting free those who have bought into the lies rather than condemning them. Love wins when we stop caring about winning and start caring about one another.