I'd like to think that the group of friends that I have in real life and in social media is a diverse one. We come from all different backgrounds with different likes and dislikes, varied viewpoints and beliefs. In my opinion, that's the only way to stay true to yourself. If you don't reevaluate your positions based on new information from trusted sources (like friends and family), you really have no room to speak your mind because you're going off of history only instead of current fact. This makes things that much more frustrating when a person I normally agree with refuses to hear my point of view if mine varies from theirs, which actually happened to me today.
A contact of mine on Facebook posted an opinion in their status, along with a link to an article. The opinion was stated as absolute with no exceptions, but I saw another viewpoint that I considered to be well thought out and valid. Instead of welcoming a new vantage point to enter into the discussion, my comment was immediately dismissed as incorrect. This is from a person who shares my same conservative values, so normally we agree. But the more I thought, the more I could recall times where I found her viewpoints to be closed-minded and abrasive. They were based in truth, yet did not come across in a way that invited me to hear more.
Unfortunately, this is why I feel the conservative message falls on so many deaf ears. Often times the only conservative voices people hear to base an opinion on are the ones who are yelling the loudest. They don't hear the soft-spoken, level-headed thinkers who prefer to discuss in smaller groups or on a blog that only a few will read. I'm not saying that some topics don't require a raised voice with a passionate delivery, but for the most part I believe people would rather enter into discussion rather than being scolded. The old saying about catching more flies with honey than vinegar definitely applies.
To me, this definitely applies to my conservative brothers and sisters who identify themseIves as Christians. I, myself, am far from perfect (as most who really know me will agree) and I don't really expect anyone else to be either. But it seems that there are some like my Facebook friend who find it easy to sit behind their golden keyboard and pass judgment, rather than hear something that could slightly alter their thinking. I'm not suggesting an abandonment of values or ignoring of Christian teachings. If you see the title of this blog entry, you'll know where I'm headed with this. My opinion: God did not put us here to be judges of one another. He gave us minds to think, voices to speak, hands to hold, and hearts to love. We should act as examples for others, but not place ourselves on a pedestal so high that others feel it is unattainable. When we try so hard to preach why we are right, we are doing something wrong by not listening. If we just took the time to hear someone out, we might just find something that will strengthen our own ideas, beliefs, and thoughts.
Conservatives, liberals, independents, and everything in between, take my advice under consideration. There are places we can find to agree, but the minute you start acting as if you know better than everyone else and shout your beliefs instead of inviting dialogue, you close the ears of those you're trying to reach. Try stepping down from behind the bench, Your Honor, and let the judging to someone more suited to slam the gavel.
Totally unrelated side note: Tomorrow is Father's Day. A happy one to my dad, stepdad, grandfather, + father-in-law, all of whom are trying every day to show me more about being a good father to my daughter.