I promise you it doesn’t matter what you believe, how strongly you live your beliefs, or how true your beliefs are. Somebody else, somewhere, thinks you are in the wrong. Somebody else, somewhere, thinks your beliefs are senseless or illogical. Somebody else, somewhere, thinks you have it all wrong. In fact, there are a lot of people in this world who do.
We each understand that. We already know that. It’s the world we live in and we’re not naïve. We’re not stupid. We get it.
Yet, we expect and want love anyway. We expect and want understanding. We expect and want tolerance. We expect and want humanity. We expect and want respect for our beliefs, even from those who don’t believe the same things we do. Even from those who think we’re wrong, unwise, or incorrect.
We expect all of that from the people who disagree with us and who disagree with our lifestyles and beliefs because, let’s be honest, nothing we do is actually bad enough to be worthy of disgust, anger, hatred, or cold-shouldering. Right? None of the ways in which we live our lives would warrant such behavior. Right? None of our beliefs are worthy of ugly disdain from others.
No, we’re all… perfect. Freaking, amazingly, impossibly… perfect.
But the gays… well, shoot.
You know what I think?
Let this sink in for a minute…
I think it doesn’t matter if you or I or anybody else thinks homosexuality is a sin. It doesn’t matter if you or I think anything is a sin. It doesn’t matter if homosexuality is a sin or not. In fact, it doesn’t matter if anything anybody else does is a sin or not.
Because sin is a very personal thing! It always has been and it always will be!
And it has nothing to do with love.
Disparity and difference have nothing to do with love.
We shouldn’t choose who we will love and who we won’t.
“I’m Christian, unless you’re gay.”
That’s the message we’re sending, you know.
“I’m Christian, unless I’m hotter than you.”
“I’m Christian, unless I’m uglier than you.”
“I’m Christian, unless I found out you cheated on your income taxes.”
“I’m Christian, unless you cut me off in traffic.”
“I’m Christian, unless you fall in love with the person I once fell in love with.”
“I’m Christian, unless you’re that guy who smells like crap on the subway.”
“I’m Christian, unless you’re of a different religion.”
“Oh, but you’re not gay? You’re clean, and well dressed, and you have a job? You look the way I think you should look? You act the way I think you should act? You believe the things I think you should believe? Then I’m definitely a Christian. To you, today, I’m a Christian. You’ve earned it.”
I bet you’ve heard that message coming from others. Maybe you’ve given that message to others.
Either way, I hope we all can agree that we mustn’t live that message. We just shouldn’t.
But many of us do.
And we do it all the time.
For some of us, it might as well be tattooed across our necks and foreheads.
Maybe not in those words, but the message is clear to those who hear and are listening. It’s clear to those who are watching and seeing.
The message has been very clear to my friend Jacob.
“Every single person I’ve told has ditched me. They just disappear. They stop calling. They remove me on Facebook. They’re just gone. They can’t handle knowing and being friends with a gay person.”
“You don’t know what it’s like, man. You don’t know what it’s like to live here and be gay. You don’t know what it’s like to have freaking nobody. You don’t know what it’s like to have your own parents hate you and try and cover up your existence. I didn’t choose this. I didn’t want this. And I’m so tired of people hating me for it. I can’t take it anymore. I just can’t.”
Jacob is a dear friend. He’s my brother. He’s a damn good human being. He’s absolutely incredible.
He’s also gay.
But why does that make any difference at all?
It doesn’t. Not to me.
And I wish with everything inside of me that it didn’t make any difference to others. I wish we didn’t all have to find ways that we’re better than others or more holy and saintly than others in order to feel better about our own messy selves. I wish people wouldn’t cluster entire groups of people together and declare the whole lot unworthy of any love and respect.
But that is the point of such thinking and action, isn’t it? I mean, it’s simpler that way. It makes it easier for us to justify our thoughts, words, and prejudices that way.
All these people become clumped together. And in the process, they all somehow become less than human.
They become unworthy of our love.
And what a great thing it is when that happens, right? I mean, it helps us to free ourselves from the very directives that have been passed down for millennia from the greatest teachers and philosophers in history. It makes our rationalization for hatred, bigotry, and abhorrence so easily justifiable; so maskable.
It gives us the golden chance to look at ourselves and not be disgusted by what the glass reflects back at us.
Then, sadly and ultimately, it pushes us to that point where we no longer have any sort of arm to put around others at all. We no longer have a hand to offer our fellow human beings. We no longer have a need to.
And why would we?
Why the hell should we?
Unless, of course, we actually want to live what we all so often claim that we “believe.”
My dear friends…
This has to stop. We have to put our ugly picket signs down. We have to be the examples that help make it happen in our own lives and in the lives of the people that surround us.
We have to be that voice. We each must be that voice.
We must tell others that we will not accept or listen to such hurtful and hateful sentiments.
We must show love where love right now doesn’t exist.
Will you please join me?
My request today is simple. Today. Tomorrow. Next week. Find somebody, anybody, that’s different than you. Somebody that has made you feel ill-will or even [gulp…] hateful. Somebody whose life decisions have made you uncomfortable. Somebody who practices a different religion than you do. Somebody who has been lost to addiction. Somebody with a criminal past. Somebody who dresses “below” you. Somebody with disabilities. Somebody who lives an alternative lifestyle. Somebody without a home.
Somebody that you, until now, would always avoid, always look down on, and always be disgusted by.
Reach your arm out and put it around them.
And then, tell them they’re all right. Tell them they have a friend. Tell them you love them.
If you or I wanna make a change in this world, that’s where we’re gonna be able to do it. That’s where we’ll start.
Every. Single. Time.
Because what you’ll find, and I promise you this, is that the more you put your arm around those that you might naturally look down on, the more you will love yourself. And the more you love yourself, the less need you’ll ever have to find fault or be better than others. And the less we all find fault or have a need to be better than others, the quicker this world becomes a far better place to live.
And don’t we all want to live in a better world? Don’t we all want our kids to grow up in a better, less hateful, more beautiful world?
I know I do.
So let’s be that voice. Let’s offer that arm to others. Because, the honest truth is… there’s gonna come a day when you or I are going to need that same courtesy. There’s going to come a day that we are desperate for that same arm to be put around us. We’ll be desperate for that same friendship. We’ll be desperate for that same love.
Life will make sure of it. For you. For me. For everyone.
It always does because… as it turns out… there’s not a damn person on earth who’s perfect.
Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing
PS. I would love your comments and thoughts today. More than anything, I’d really like to hear people’s individual struggles. I’d like to hear your struggles. I believe that everybody will benefit as we all share that which hurts us and haunts us.
When have you seen or experienced this? What effects has it had in your life or the lives of others that are close to you? Have you ever seen positive results as people become more loving toward those who are different? How have you felt along the way?
There are those who have struggled because they have been on the receiving end of it. And there are those who have struggled as they work to overcome it. I’ve grappled on both sides.
This message is so important to me; among the most important that this faulted blogger has ever written and because of that I have no hesitation asking you to share it. If it’s important to you, too, please share it. If you believe its message needs to be spread, please share it. Use your voice for that which it was meant.
Use your voice to embolden the world. Use your voice to say, “enough is enough.” Use your voice to stand up and declare that there is no other way besides love.
With all my heart. Please.
NOTE: Please use the like button here which will send people to page one instead of to page three.
Since publishing this last November, I have posted several follow-up posts that I would encourage you to read. Please take a moment to read them as I believe they’re 100 times more powerful than anything I could ever write.