Saturday, November 12, 2011

Cleaning up a mess

Ugh . . . I hate it when this happens.

I hate it when I'm on the receiving end--when someone says something that makes it clear that if they really knew me, they would pretty much hate me.  It happens a lot on Facebook, of course--my friends post their opinions that people who believe differently than they do (in other words, people who believe like I do) are unpatriotic, false Christians, unenlightened, and worse.  In fact, just recently I've been told that I don't deserve to live in this country and that I practice the occult.  Of course, people don't mean to tell me that.  But by saying that about people who believe differently, they're unwittingly saying those things about me.

I hate it even more when I'm the one who does that to others.  In a recent post, I flippantly said that bumper stickers asserting that "9/11 was an inside job" are stupid.  Someone anonymously posted a comment that he/she holds that opinion.  I almost didn't see the comment and in fact, only happened on it last night.  I was immediately sad that I had clearly insulted someone I care about (because I can't think of anyone that I talk to regularly that I don't care about) and that I did it flippantly and unthinkingly.

Now don't get me wrong:  I can't imagine changing my opinion about 9/11.  I know what I believe about that.  But that's not what this is about.  I know how to express my opinion and defend my thinking without calling other ideas and people "stupid" and I deeply value that ability.  I know better.

(By the way, I'm hoping that anonymous will be willing to identify himself/herself and have a conversation about it--not about 9/11 but about any emotional or relational impact of my judgmental statement.  I would welcome that.)

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