This morning, I was listening to the radio and a commercial came on with a young lady speaking. The message was timely and a common message I’ve been hearing a lot lately. Toward the end, she made the comment that we are all different on the outside, but on the inside we are all the same. My first reaction was “Um… no we’re not”.
There is a big push right now for unity and the “can’t we all just get along” message is coming through everywhere I look. If we all just believe the same, everything will be great. The problem with that is who are we going to believe like? We are not all the same on the inside. God made each of us unique. Not just in physical appearance, but in thought and spirit. We are not all the same on the inside. We do not all think the same or want the same things. The challenge we are having right now is we are pushing this unity and everyone is the same message and it is simply not true. What they are really saying is “we should all be united around the way I believe”. “If everyone would believe the same way, then everything would be fantastic… as long as everyone believes the way I do.”
The very foundation of our nation was freedom and individuality. We have the freedom to be individuals. The freedom to have different beliefs. And it’s o.k. You don’t have to believe the same things I do. You don’t have to have the same opinions I do. We have many different Christian denominations that don’t all teach the same things. We have many different religious beliefs in our nation. It’s o.k. We are a nation of freedom. When we begin to restrict the freedoms of one belief we open the door to restrict the beliefs of all. That includes religious and political beliefs.
What we have lost is our ability to have an intelligent discussion, learn something from the other person, grow up a little, and walk away still disagreeing with the other, but a little wiser and more educated than we were before. Maybe, through these discussions, we will win some over to our point of view. Maybe we will realize we were wrong and move over to the other point of view. But at some point, we have decided that speaking out for what we believe is bullying and should never be done. Unless, of course, you agree with me. Then you should have the right to speak your beliefs. We are losing the ability to have a deep discussion without invoking feelings of fear, anger, and being threatened because someone disagrees with me.
Kids are a great example. Watch two kids fight over a swing. Twenty minutes later they are playing in the leaves and best friends. God made us all individuals and, while I am willing to discuss my opinions with you and listen to your opinions, I do not want to be like you. I want to be like me… the way God made me. I do want to learn and grow as a person. To learn the why behind what you think and believe. It helps me understand you as a person and understand your beliefs… and maybe even change my opinion. But even if we continue to disagree, it’s o.k. We can still be friends… and you can still be wrong. We need to learn how to disagree.