“Just because I disagree with you, does not mean I hate you. We need to relearn that in society.
In our society today it is not uncommon to hear words like “hate speech” or “fake news” or words like “homophobic” or recently invented words like, “Islamophobic” and all kinds of terms that distance people from each other. It seems to be acceptable to throw such terms around whenever people disagree.
Terms like the above by nature may instill fear in some people. Here in Canada even government leaders use such terms and a few more. Those one might expect to know better, like leaders, would serve people more if they practiced civil language.
All of the above terms and many others represent what Scarred Joy considers to be the “dark side” of our society. This “dark side” is becoming all too common these days.
This “dark side” includes the cynical and intellectually violent attitudes many people exhibit towards those they disagree with. A posting on Facebook reads, “Just because I disagree with you, does not mean I hate you. We need to relearn that in society.” There is wisdom and truth in this statement. It speaks to me in its simple message.
The statement from Facebook reminds me of a verse in the Bible known as the “Golden Rule.” It says, “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets (Mathew 7:12).”
Both the simple Facebook words and the Golden Rule challenge me to review my attitude regarding my role in contemporary society. I know I must restrain myself from commenting negatively about controversial issues. One of the issues that can cause me to be upset is the government my country of Canada is subjected to today. It is easy for me to say how much I disagree with most of what the government wants to do and it’s leader in particular. This is showing an example of my own dark side.
You see I’m aware of my dark side. It is often my default status when reacting to the controversial issues impacting western culture. I can sit back and criticize the decisions of others that I despise.
I have to address how I might be able to live out my life in this present day in a way that reflects the faith I live by. If I do not then I am one who lives in the dark side.
Now, let me make something clear. My faith as a Christian does not mean I accept all the influences or beliefs of the culture in which I live. It does mean that I must live in a way that reflects the One I serve. I cannot say this is an easy way to live in this day and age.
My dark side cannot and must not lead me through life. I do not have to follow the people with loud voices and aggressive responses to matters prominent today. I also need not fear those who seem to lack the capacity to show reason in their decisions.
Belief in freedom of speech does not mean I have to agree with everyone’s opinions. I do, however, respect the opinions of others without agreeing. I admit too this respect is sometimes not my first response.
I remember a few months ago when interacting with someone of social media. The woman remarking on some issue believed she has a right to judge another person’s opinion or beliefs if they didn’t agree with her own. I remarked this sounded quite odd in a democratic society. I tried to encourage her by saying the beauty of democracy is being able to disagree with each other without hating. She concluded by saying I should watch what I say or something could happen to me. She didn’t elaborate further and I never heard from her again. I pray for her.
I guess these days I could have reported this woman to the social media police or something. On the other hand, she blessed me with not hearing from her again. The reality of today assures me this lady is not alone in her imbalanced views of interacting with the beliefs of other people.
Her sorrowful view of divergent opinions reminded me “Just because I disagree with you, does not mean I hate you…”
My dear friends, whether you agree with me or not, we have our lives to live out. As an Orthodox Christian I choose to live a life of peace. This is even more reason to love and treat other people in the way I would like them to love and treat me.
Let us all beware of our dark side and live in peace as much as we can.
“A humble man is never rushed, hasty, or agitated. At all times he remains calm.”
Saint Isaac the Syrian