Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Delete me if

Our country is a sad, scary place right now. I could write for hours about all the terrible things happening. But there is something people aren't talking about, and it hurts my heart to see it over and over again in a time when we all need to be coming together. 

You've seen the posts. Maybe you've written the posts...
"Delete me if..." 
"If you believe XYZ, delete me." 
"If you don't agree with XZY, delete yourself... I don't have time for you." 

Time and again I've seen it posted this last several days, and it's heartbreaking.

Does deleting them say more about you or them?
Many people feel they are saying, "This belief is so important, I will sacrifice friends for it." and "Your beliefs aren't worth hearing because they are ridiculous."  But these people forget it's a two way street. You are also saying, "I don't believe I can make a difference in your life."

And maybe you won't. But shouldn't you try, even if trying is just you living your life true to you and they see it and make changes that you never see?

Another problem with this... You are helping propagate selection & confirmation bias for both you and the person you want to delete. Everybody believes something that is based almost entirely on the fact that everyone they know believes the same thing. Or, these days, because they read it on Facebook in one of their heavily biased groups. You might be the only voice of reason some of your friends see on a given topic. 

I've done it myself. I've posted about subjects I thought I knew inside and out, only to learn new facts from friends who believe differently than I did. I can't imagine how much growth within myself would have been stunted if I only surrounded myself with people who believed the same as I do, (or who never said anything if they didn't.)

If you are ever going to make a difference on a personal level, it has to be done with love. Telling someone to "Delete me if..." is the same as saying, "I don't care about you." and that isn't love. Love is patient and kind and slow to anger. 

Another thing that is often slow... change. Even once it happens the person who is changing may not let on. Growth is hard. And admitting you are growing is even harder because you have to admit that you might have been wrong before. In other words, just because you don't see growth, doesn't mean it isn't happening.

Just remember, someone's friendship or impact on your life (or your impact on theirs) is more important than a belief they hold, however strongly either of you feel about it. Imagine if I said, "Delete me if you don't believe Jesus Christ is the son of God and you make fun of people who do." I would lose a lot of amazing people from my life. 

There are some good reasons to delete or block people from your life at times. If they harass you or cause you problems, or if their beliefs are directly impacting more than your social media timelines, then by all means, quietly delete them and let it go.

You don't have to be friends with everyone, and boundaries are good. But when your boundaries are so tight that you can't even turn your head to try to see something from someone else's viewpoint or to see that there is more value to another human being than one belief they hold, then regardless of what it is you don't agree with, there is something wrong with your boundaries.

Even Jesus hung out with imperfect people who sometimes said and/or believed stupid things. He didn't cast them away. He walked in grace and gave them the opportunity to learn.

Even if you don't agree with any of this, I don't want you to delete me. 

I want you to know that I love you and value you and your opinions and beliefs, even if they are different from my own. 

Maybe that should say especially if they are different from my own. Much of the learning and growing that I have done over the years has come through friends who shared their different perspective and knowledge with me... and I wouldn't trade that for a bunch of people who agreed with everything I said, any day of the week. 

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you are also to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. 
John 13:34-35

Bless those who persecute you; bless and don't curse them.
Live in harmony with one another. 
Do not be haughty, but associate with the humble. 
Never be wise in your own sight.
~ Romans 12 (Excerpts)

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