I have a very diverse group of friends, both “real friends” and “Facebook friends”, as my son likes to refer to them. (One time I mentioned that I have friends who live in Africa. He asked, “Real friends, or Facebook friends?” I could go on about the distinction between the two, but I won’t. Plenty of other blog posts and inspirational pictures with pretty fonts have tackled the subject.)
Today I want to talk about two of my friends who are very, very different. I’ll call them Hippie and Fox News Anchor (FNA). In case their names don’t make it clear, Hippie is, well, a hippie, and FNA makes Sarah Palin seem liberal.
But they are both my friends, and they are both awesome.
The other day FNA posted a link to an article about parenting. I read it and the first thing I thought was, “Wow. There’s some good stuff here, but it would make Hippie’s brain explode.”
I thought about sending it to her just to get a reaction, but the admonition to live at peace with everyone as long as it depends on me has been echoing in my thoughts lately, so I didn’t. It might amuse me to get her riled up, but it definitely would not promote peace.
The next day, Hippie posted a link to an article about parenting. I read it, and the first thing I thought was, “Wow. There’s some good stuff here, but it would make FNA’s brain explode.”
This time I wasn’t even tempted to send it on. (Look at me – growing up.)
What struck me though was that as different as these two ladies may be, and as polar opposite as the articles were, both of my friends have the same desire: To do the very best for their precious children. And they have a few other things in common as well – They both love Jesus, they both love their husbands, and they both encourage and inspire me.
Sometimes I am much more hippie than Fox News (don’t tell my dad), and other times I am closer to Fox News than people might think (don’t tell Jon Stewart). But it’s funny to me how people see a sliver of my life and automatically assume they know where I stand on every issue.
- You homeschool, so you must believe… (Nope.)
- You don’t spank your children, you so obviously feel… (Wrong.)
- You’re a pastor’s wife, so this must speak to your very soul… (Gag.)
- You avoid processed foods, so please join me in my crusade to… (No.)
- You like rap music, so you must hate children… (What?)
But as amusing – and obnoxious – as this can be, I realize that I do the same thing. If I agree with someone, then I’m all sunshine and flowers, believing that what they said came from the truest and purest of motives. If I don’t agree with someone, then they are clearly misguided and really need to get their priorities in order.
Really Jane? Don’t be a jerk. Come on.
So that’s my challenge to myself – to treat others the way I want to be treated. To try to live at peace with people. And to realize that just because someone has a different point of view than I have, it doesn’t mean that they hate puppies.
Anyone else up for the challenge?
“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4:2-3
See you soon.