I’ll admit it: sometimes I struggle with certain aspects of my humanity, particularly with my acquired sense of believing I have the right to judge people. (That’s the nagging part of my ENFJ Myers-Briggs personality type and the engrained burden my religious upbringing has placed on my shoulders.)
This part of my humanity (not the only flawed part but the part that is the focus of this post) makes me want to write tersely worded posts on my Facebook wall and send abrupt messages and tweet to anyone and everyone who considers voting for Trump or another candidate who votes against gay rights or against the rights of women or immigrants or who believes “All Lives Matter” is an appropriate counter to “#BlackLivesMatter”–
SERIOUSLY. YOU CAN’T POSSIBLY CALL YOURSELF A CHRISTIAN.
IF THIS IS THE WAY YOU FEEL, UNFRIEND ME.
JUST. UN. FRIEND. ME.
In FACT: here, let me do it for you!!
These thoughts are in my head more often than I want to admit, particularly when I wonder how people who belong to either more conservative religions or who are immersed in conservative enclaves could possibly be supporting people like Trump. I wonder how they can possibly be comfortable with someone who also calls himself a Christian saying and doing what he says and does, or how they could possibly even fathom voting for him, or, worse, aren’t saying anything against this kind of Christianity.
And just like that: there I go judging again.
What just hit me at this moment is what I believe I really need to think in these moments–
If you are considering voting for Trump, or want LGBT protections removed or prevented, or you’re not in favor of women’s rights to their own healthcare decisions and autonomy over their bodies, or are afraid of transgender people, or think that we should build a wall, or [fill in the blank]
–what I need to say is
Our relationship means something to me.
And because it does, would you have a Starbucks with me…?
Could we sit down at the table and let’s share a meal together…?
Could we just sit down and talk?
Why does that seem like the harder thing to do? It seems far easier to wash my hands of them or ignore them or hide them from my timeline so I don’t have to see the things they say or things they post. (And I have done that to a few folks as I am sure they have done to this flaming homosexual progressive.)
This frustration was very definitely on my mind way back in 2012 when I called out my straight friends and how they would be voting and whether their votes were in solidarity with me or stabbing me in the back. But I think I had it wrong. Instead of waiting on them to do the work or come to me or hope they’d see someone’s post and change their hearts, maybe what I should have done was…just sit down with them and talk.
I think the very best way to change hearts and minds is by having open minds and hearts our selves. Maybe then–when people have the chance to talk openly and honestly about what frightens them or what conflicts them or how they might be struggling with an issue or issues–then (and only then) maybe we can find that common ground that united us as friends in the first place. And maybe we can grow.
So: if you’re reading this and our positions on some key issues don’t align or you find yourself frustrated with my progressive ideas or maybe you’re really conflicted about what to believe or what you can do–
Or–yes, even call me.
And let’s talk. Heart-to-heart.
I don’t have all or even many of the answers. But I will listen. And share my experience. And love you even if we don’t agree.
Oh, and I promise I won’t be like this when we do:
He could be next.