Yesterday, Dave and I returned from a week in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, which I affectionately call my "happy place". Why? It is where the Sea of Cortez meets the Pacific Ocean, creating a tremendously gorgeous turquoise water color combined with massive waves (it is rarely okay to go swimming in the water, but it is perfect for sitting on the beach, sitting by the pool, or lying in bed with the doors open---listening to the crashing of the waves). We got on the plane headed back to Tucson by way of Phoenix (don't ask), and within two minutes, we heard two couples griping at each other ("don't squish the hats!" "I wanted the window seat!" "Turn down the fan! It's blowing in my face" (okay, that last one might have come from me)). Dave and I looked at each other, and whispered at the same time "Vacation is apparently over". Certainly, most all of us have witnessed this same phenomenon at Disneyworld or Disneyland (you know, the happiest place on earth) when family members gripe at each other.
Today's sermon was about kneeling before God and others while standing up for what we believe. But what do we believe? What if my belief is different from your belief? It seems that, lately, that happens a great deal. Families and friends that say they love one another argue vehemently about political figures, even saying nasty things to one another on Facebook or in person. Loving God and our neighbors sounds pretty simple, but it apparently is not easy. Simple but not easy. Why? Because, for some silly reason, we believe that if we say we are right, then you who hold a differing belief must be wrong. I am but one voice, thought. You may not agree with me, but I do have that one voice that is mine and mine alone. I hope my voice is one of humility, but I believe that is not true, all the time. Why? I allow your voice that doesn't agree with mine to get my hackles up. And then, somehow, you are no longer just unique in your perspective but you are wrong.
What would happen if, instead of responding to one another's differing opinions with venom and ugliness, we simply responded with kindness and respectfulness? "How can I kneel and stand at the same time?" was the theme of our dear Rev. Debra's sermon this morning. Of course I have the right (and often a duty) to speak up with courage if a wrong is being done, but I pray with my heart and soul that I do that out of respect for others as human beings (after all, I think I am called to respect all humanity) instead of speaking to degrade someone else's beliefs? In fact, I think others' views might simply be considered unique versus wrong. Instead of arguing, what would be the problem with simply asking the other person whose views raise my hackles, "What is it about __________ that makes you uncomfortable?" or "What views about _______________ mesh with your own views about humanity?" OR.....I might even say Dave's and my favorite line for one another, "You know, you might be right about that" even if we might not totally believe it at the time. In other words, how do I behave in relationship with those with whom I abjectly disagree?
After all, the last I checked, God is God. I am not. I would, however, like to live in accordance with the way God would have me live----in harmony with my fellow man, with humility and integrity.
What about you?