With the brouhaha I created by using the word “stupid,” I sat in amazement as I read the conversations taking place between my Facebook “friends.” I then began to read other entries and bloggers from across the nation. The debate ran hot on both sides of the isle with a few peacemakers calling us all to find a common ground. Most didn’t listen to their pleas.
As each wrote his or her response most did so with a sense of passion. Anger, frustration, fear, and profound sadness were displayed by the written words of each individual. Some were offended while others just became more enraged. Some posters made me laugh while others just left me shaking my head.
If there was one thing that troubled me it was the tactic that some used to try and silence their opposition. This method has been used often and with great success in the last few years, particularly by those who lean left. It seems that many times when a conservative stands to offer an opinion that is contrary to liberal causes and ideologies, he or she is called a hater, a racist, or intolerant. Even if the term racist isn’t used it is often implied.
I find these terms are used frequently when one’s argument begins to take on water like a sinking ship. It also appears those who scream intolerance the loudest and most often are the most intolerant of all. The idea of tolerance has not only been transformed, but hijacked by a secular society with an agenda far different from traditionalist. Tolerance for many today carries the idea of acceptance plus approval. True tolerance is the ability to accept the ideas and practices of another, without having to personally approve of said ideas and practices.
Many have the idea in our society that everyone has a right not to be offended. But on this one point I actually agree with radio talk show host Neil Boortz, “no one in America has a right not to be offended.” If someone says something to which you disagree, if they speak out boldly and with passion it doesn’t necessarily make them your enemy. Nor does it make one a “hater, racist, or intolerant.” It just means you don’t agree, and some let you know with increased volume.
The thought by some outside the Church, and maybe some in the Church, that Christ Jesus or His followers would never say anything offensive is laughable. Have you not read the words Christ spoke to the Pharisees, or the writings of Paul? The Gospel itself is offensive to those who do not believe. Heck, I even find the Gospel is sometimes offensive to those who claim to know Christ.
The bottom line is this, when you speak, speak truthfully and in love. But remember that truth sometimes hurts, and love doesn’t always mean one is gentle when presenting what needs to be heard or done.
All glory be to God!