"A house divided against itself cannot stand." -Abraham Lincoln, in reference to Mark 3:25
I think there needs to be some clarification: it is okay to disagree with each another. What is not okay is for disagreement to spiral into hatred, which has rapidly taken this country by storm. We have become determined to change each others' minds and to even force others to think the way we do. We refuse to actually listen to someone else's viewpoint and instead focus on how we can tear them apart. Have you ever actually seen anyone's mind changed by Facebook arguments and rants? Because I sure haven't!
We proclaim tolerance in this country but, as far as I've observed, people are generally tolerant of everything except that with which they disagree. As a Christian, I often do not feel tolerated. I know that some will find this hypocritical as they may see Christians as the intolerant ones. And absolutely yes, there are Christians who do not fulfill what we are called to do: to speak the truth in love. But there are plenty of us who simply state our beliefs and morals and are immediately under fire.
I definitely do not want to frame this as a clash between "us vs. them" or "Poor Christians, we are so misunderstood." But I suppose what frustrates me the most is the promotion of universal tolerance until the moment God's name is mentioned. I disagree with things like gay marriage and abortion. However, I not only accept that many people are for these things, I also accept the people who are for these.
With that being said, I want to greatly emphasize that acceptance does not equate to agreement. You can accept someone and their beliefs without agreeing with them. And I think this is where many of us have gone wrong. I also think this is a common misconception people have regarding followers of Christ, in terms of disagreeing automatically meaning condemning.Yes, I am a Christian and no, I am not going to force my beliefs down your throat or condemn you if you think differently than I do. Granted, I will not remain silent about my convictions, but I most definitely will not force them upon you. I understand that many people do not see things the same way. And that is completely fine as I can respect someone disagreeing with me. More than that, I think it is healthy to have discussions with people who differ in beliefs and viewpoints. But what I cannot respect are hateful, inflammatory responses. I cannot speak for others, but I can promise that if you disagree with me, I will not scream and shout; I am more than willing to hear someone out. I also want this to be reciprocated: I want those who disagree with me to also hear me out.
Here's the bottom-line: we are so quick to accuse and attack anyone with whom we disagree. Hatred, as the result of a failure to accept those who think differently, has spread like a wildfire that cannot be contained. But this fire can be tamed if we recognize that disagreement is not the enemy--divisive hatred is.
James 1:19 (NIV)- "My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry."