Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Learning To Love

                                                         (Photograph copyright of John Paul Bender)

One of the hardest things in life is learning and coming to accept that the way you think is not always the way someone else thinks. In high school I gave a persuasive speech about my stance on gay marriage thinking that I could shift my classmate's opinions to be more aligned with mine.  I was met with both agreement and disagreement on my viewpoint.  And now, once again, I stepped into the waters of this heated issue by sharing my opinion about the same-sex marriage decision that was recently made by SCOTUS in Facebook comments.

The world and its sports, music, emotions and politics are all channeled through social media. Nothing is private anymore. Everyone has to tell everyone else where they stand on everything under the sun even if what they post becomes offensive to others. Seeing my Catholic faith being criticized in Facebook posts for the Church's defense against SCOTUS's decision to legalize same-sex marriage in all fifty states, brought out a desire for me to try to give some of my friends and family members a better understanding of why we as a church believe what we believe. I would comment on a status with an attempt to show a person why the Church is so upset over the ruling, only to be ridiculed and told that I am posting radical and passive aggressive thoughts. It saddened me as I found myself "unfriending" a large amount of my friends who were celebrating the outcome.

In trying to make my opposition clear, I heard the phrase, "This is the reason why people fall away from the Catholic Church, because you can't tolerate opinions that are different than your own." As a result, I feel the need to revisit humility. Instead of chastising, I think we need to take a step back and reassess the need for kindness, humility and love. Our reasoning behind our defense is legitimate, but words get in the way. In our efforts to lead someone to the truth, we can end up damaging feelings and lose a number of potential disciples. A great friend of mine once said, " Real love is not being able to have all the answers, but rather crawling down into the hole that someone has dug themselves into and being present with them."  A loving embrace, a heartfelt prayer and great courage and patience can go a long way in bringing someone out of the darkness and into the light of truth. 

Intent on improving the way I bring about truth in the world, I'm going to try a new approach to evangelizing. I am still going to promote my love for the Catholic faith and Catholic teachings, but rather than try and engage with others about differences in opinion, I am going to take a step back and allow them to discover God's will on their own. Instead of trying to teach with my words, I'm going to focus more on living out my faith to the best of my ability. I feel I can make the most impact on someone who is searching for truth in this way. The old saying "actions speak louder than words" still holds very true.

Yes, I think the same-sex marriage decision is terrible and I do not stand for or agree with it, but I think that the most important thing we can do is to love one another regardless of differing beliefs and opinions. We need to learn to love again and forgive again even when it hurts to do so.  How will you continue to show your love for those around you who disagree with you?

No comments:

Post a Comment