Monday, March 14, 2011

Being Different Is Not An Excuse

Just because people are different, it doesn't make them less human than you. It doesn't make them evil. Being different isn't a bad thing.

Lately I've been apart of situations/conversations that make me want to curl up into a ball and hide away from humanity. Not forever. Just for those moments when I am inadvertently included in or just overhearing things that people say about other human beings.

Sometimes people don't have to actually say anything. Sometimes they do, and even what they say isn't what gets my goat...it's how they say it. I may not have seen the sneer on your face, but I sure as heck heard it in your voice.

I'm sorry that I don't agree with you that those people are evil. The breadth of folks who are those people confounds me. Is no one good enough  or worthy enough except others who think, look, act, talk, or walk just like you? They have to watch the same 24/7 news channel. They watch the same TV shows and movies. Read the same books. Listen to the same music, the same radio stations. They are of the same political party and persuasion as you. They go to the same worship place as you, believe in the same higher power(s) as you. Speak the same language as you.

Same. Same. Same. Same. Same.

Only then can they be good enough. If they're not quite carbon copies of you in action and thought, they may command only a small part of your attention, only a smidgen of your respect.

Because they speak Arabic, Spanish, Mandarin, English. Because they are Hindu, Jewish, Sunni Muslim, Shia Muslim, evangelical Christian, Catholic, Sikh, atheist, agnostic, Buddhist. Because they are European, African, American, Asian, Latino/a. Because they are poor, rich, middle-class. Because they are gay, straight, bi-sexual, trans-gender. Because they are Democrat, Republican, middle-of-the-fencer, none-of-the-above. Because they are sinful, saintly, righteous, unrighteous. Because you are whatever, whichever, whomever.

Because because because...they are not like you. They're different. Some you classify as evil. Some the media and our societies classify as bad or unworthy. Some you believe are terrible just because your granpappy and his granpappy before him said they were. Sometimes you do it because that's all you ever hear. But being different is not an excuse to hate one another.

You say you respect life and you profess faith in a God who loves all, yet you treat them with disdain. Then you try to get me to be just like you! It may not be overt, but I know it happens in small little doses. Tiny quips here and there.

But I won't crack. Though I am guilty of it at times, in big ways and small ways, I will try to not treat them like they are nothing, undeserving.

See, God put it in my heart to love all. To love my neighbors. To love my enemies. To love those people whom everyone else decides are unlovable.

Jesus ate and talked with people when everyone else said he shouldn't. He loved them.

He loved them. Unconditionally.

I want to treat others the way Jesus did. I want to love like Jesus did. Love like Jesus does. Love like He always will love.

Don't you want that, too?

3 comments:

Mary said...

Great post, Ashley!

Susan Rose, CSJP said...

I've tagged you on my blog today for Catholic Media Promotion Day!

http://actjustly.blogspot.com/2011/03/catholic-media-promotion-today.html

Sr. Ann Marie said...

Amen! Great post and sharing!