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Speak Up and Listen In Love

“I (may) disapprove of what you say but I will defend to your death the right to say it.”

            Evelyn Beatrice Hall (S.G. Tallentyre – pseudonym)

Somewhere along the way, we have lost our ability to respect each other’s opinions. With a few choice words, often hidden behind the quietness and anonymity of the internet, we throw our opinion about without ever really taking the time to listen to anyone else’s. We react and respond as if our views and beliefs are the only ones that matter; therefore, they are the only ones that are right. And this does not just happen on one side of an issue. Both sides are equally to blame and this becomes very dangerous ground and an extremely slippery slope for the future. When one set of beliefs are completely trampled in favor of another, the entire voice of a group can be lost.

This is not to say there are not elements of truth to what you believe. You may be able to stand on the conviction of science, history, or even the Bible, and know beyond a shadow of doubt that your opinion is correct. But what we have to remember is that behind the other opinion is not just another set of beliefs, but a person who has feelings; a person who Jesus commands us to love.  Instead of immediately jumping to the conclusion that the person you are disagreeing with is a bigot or a freak, take the time to listen to what they are saying. Have a healthy debate. Walk away knowing you are still right but that you respected the other person. Maybe even learn something along the way.

This is what makes America beautiful. It is not about politics, it is not about being right or wrong. It is about having the ability to speak your mind and know it will be heard.

Jesus reminds His followers that only he who is without sin should be the one to cast the first stone. If you cannot claim a life of perfection, the judgment has to stop. We do not live in this world to condemn others, but to love them just as Jesus loves us, sins and all.

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