My Daily Heartbreak

Girl sewing heartSometimes (nearly every day) someone says something to me (usually via the Internet) about my faith that’s insulting, ridiculing, or just plain rude. Usually I say nothing in response, because I don’t want to be baited into an argument, and generally, that’s exactly what those people want. But sometimes I do respond, because what I have to say might benefit the person I’m speaking to, and it appears they are not looking for just an argument.

Today, someone made the comment on Facebook that how I teach my child about God might not sound disturbing to me, that it does sound disturbing to my child, and to people outside of my faith. Then he said that “religion poisons everything.” Here is my response to his comment:

While your opinion is just as valuable as mine, and I wouldn’t dream of censoring it, you can’t make statements like that and believe you are being truthful. The truth is that you’ve never heard a word of what gets said in my house, so you can’t possibly know what it sounds like to a child, someone outside my faith, or anyone for that matter. All you know is what you’ve experienced personally, or heard second-hand, and while those experiences are completely and totally valid, they’re not representative of everyone’s experiences. To speak in such generalizations, and make such sweeping authoritative statements is short-sighted and prevents any sort of genuine discussion from happening. Opportunities to have meaningful, non-destructive discourse with people of differing perspectives are becoming rare, and it’s a shame to waste such an opportunity by poisoning fertile ground.

I know it’s easier to believe things about groups of people, and to just assume that everyone you label a certain way will always and forever behave the way you think they will, but in doing so, you rob people of their individuality, and you willfully inhibit the broadening of your own perspective. It takes time and effort to always be reevaluating people and beliefs, but humanity deserves that.

I wish I could always be so eloquent, because usually I get so immediately frustrated with that kind of judgement, that I can’t even find the words. But the thing is that I really do value the discourse I have with people of differing backgrounds. It’s how I learn, and how I grow. It’s how I’ve developed into the person that I am, and how I’ll develop into future versions of myself. And more than anything, it’s how I find grace and mercy for those that are not “just like me.” The guy that comments that “religion poisons everything” is just as much my brother as the guy sitting across from me in church, and the chances are that I can learn more from the judgy-commenter than from my church-brother.

I need more patience. I need more grace. I need more understanding. I need more love for people who don’t like me or what I stand for. I need the courage to speak when called to do so, and the wisdom to choose the right words. I turn to God in tiny bursts of prayer so many times each day because my heart hurts for the never-ending stream of people who have been wounded by religion, and religious people. They say these kinds of hurtful things because they themselves have been hurt, and I know it has absolutely nothing to do with me, but it still breaks my heart. These people need healing, and they need to know the true love of God.

If you’re the praying type, please pray for the people who have been wounded by The Church, and those of us that call ourselves followers of Christ. And pray that we, as the hands and feet of Christ himself, would only ever bring glory and honor to his name.

-mj

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4 Comments

  1. MJ,

    I feel like you and I have similar personalities. My heart continually breaks for those who have been hurt by the Church. I tend to want to immediately lash out at someone who bashes the Church. I brush them off as just angry and irrational. Truthfully, I think a lot of damage has done by the Church, but I think many people judge Christianity by looking at Christians and we fail every time. I don’t believe that people expect us to be perfect, but there has been quite a bit of a disconnect between what Jesus taught and how Christianity has been portrayed by the media and Christians themselves. But I think we’re alike in the fact that I value hearing others opinions ultimately. Of course I want the love of Christ that I’ve experienced to shape their lives, but all I can do is love others as Christ has loved me and allow the Holy Spirit to work. I will never change people, but God can. That’s something I have to remind myself daily.

    Here’s an interesting article from the Guardian about Rowan Williams’, the Archbishop of the Church of England, discussion about religion and atheism’s stalemate. http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/apr/08/atheism-religion-debate-stalemate-archbishop?newsfeed=true

    Hope you’re well.

    Reply
  2. Gerry

     /  April 9, 2012

    Hi MJ

    I’m not religious, and I know many people have been hurt by religion / religious people. When I stop and think about it many people have been hurt by … “people” – and I think that fact is often missed. Yes religion may have misguided and even evil people within it, just as it has it’s share of incompetants, poor managers etc. . The truth is that all walks of life have these, be it doctors, lawyers, teachers, accountants, police, politicians, care workers etc. . I think quite often it is expected that religious people act in line with the faith and teachings they profess – what’s not always accepted is that the vast majority do so. It is the minority, just as with all other walks of life that fail and that is what causes the blemish. Whilst it is understandable the view point expressed by the person who replied to you/ sent the Facebook communication was as wrong as saying all police are corrupt because a few are found to be – it’s simply not true.

    I don’t know what you say to your daughter in your house – but from your previous posts and tubes, I would hazard a guess (and am probably not far off) that it’s pretty much what most parents try to teach at that age – “be good, don’t do something to others you wouldn’t want done to you, love and share” – these tend to be the basics of most religions.

    Your Facebook commenter is wrong and is trying to apply worst people attributes to everyone – this is not only illogical but totally unfair and unreasonable.

    Love your eloquent response – I probably wouldn’t have been as understanding or reserved in how I expressed it – you do your religion proud !

    Thanks

    Reply
  3. <>
    I think we ALL wish we could be that eloquent all the time. That was very well said MJ. I’m very much like Gerry above and agree with everything that was said in that response. I feel bad that you have to endure rude comments and remarks from people out there simply because you choose to put yourself out there in public view. Youtube is the worst! Much of what you do on the web is remarkable and hugely helpful to many people and I know it’s things like this that tend to ruin it for others and possibly for you. I’m sure we are all glad that you choose to react the way you did rather than give up like a lot of people would. Keep doing what you are doing, the way you are doing it. We all appreciate it. :>

    Reply
  4. M

     /  April 11, 2012

    “Usually I say nothing in response, because I don’t want to be baited into an argument” Ok so, that is why you did not reply to me. However, I am not one of those you might thought. Just read about Islam if you REALLY looking for God love. Try it, why not? All the best ….

    Reply

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