Saturday, February 22, 2014

Can't We All Just Get Along?

I love information. I love reading. I love using the internet as a source of gaining understanding, finding articles, blogposts, and more than address various topics and view points. Although I do all this to gain greater understanding of what other people think:

I do not love reading comment sections.

To be honest, I often find them appalling. I feel shocked at the way people talk to one another over and over again. Maybe the comments I've read would be shocking to you too, or maybe you'd here them and think, "that doesn't surprise me at all," but isn't that even worse?

I feel like recently I can't casually scroll through an article without reading any array of insults assuming anything the commenter wants about the lives or others, generally filled with explicit, rude, inappropriate language. Or how about the ever so popular, "Go kill yourself." Or today one that said, "[Insert previous poster's name here] You're dad got a brain tumor because you are such a..." I won't even finish that one.

Though I find the comments disgusting, I really try not to judge the people. We all have passions and emotions that are different from one another, and we're all fairly uneducated on how to use the internet. But somehow I just can't shake how wrong it is when someone comments on a post about an anti-bullying campaign saying they disagree with the methods and another person tells them (and this is not verbatim) "not supporting this makes you an awful person, go kill yourself."

Telling someone to go kill themselves under the guise of supporting an anti-bullying campaign seems a little bit hypocritical to me.

Let me give a bottom line here. Talking down to someone is not okay. Telling someone to kill themselves is never okay. It is sick to me that this can be said so casually and is almost commonplace over online forums.

"This isn't going to stop, so get off the internet Alyssa."
The fact that it exists is wrong, whether I read it or not.

Does being online and having different opinions really dehumanize us enough to one another that we as a society think it is okay to say whatever we want?

I refuse to accept this.

I wonder how the original poster feels when they read those comments. Do they just shake their head and think, "You think you follow me, but you don't understand?"

We could say this is all online, but I can see an evident real world parallel, it's just easier to be loud about it from behind a screen.

The real issue here is pride. I used the word dehumanizing earlier, and I'll say it again. We have a tendency to dehumanize one another on a regular basis. Anytime we look down on someone else for how they act, what they think, what they look live, or how they live, and we put ourselves above them, we are unconsciously thinking of them as less than what they are as human beings.

The most basic definition I can think of for a human being is near and dear to my heart. If you are a human being, you are a child of God. There are a plethora of problems in society caused by individuals not knowing this about themselves, but even more problems as those who do know seem to so easily forget this fact about others. 

We are children of God, royalty in our divine identity and we all deserve to be treated as such.

Didn't Christ say, "Let he that is perfect cast the first stone?"
No one could, so why do we think we are justified in doing so?
What's more significant is that Christ IS perfect, yet did not cast a stone.

Can I make a bold statement and say that IF a perfect man had cast a stone at that women, he would not longer be perfect?

A perfect individual seeks understanding and to serve others, not to cast judgement (or stones).

There are times when all of us are in this circumstance. Sometimes  we are in the place of the women and sometimes as the individuals with stone in hand ready to throw. When we are ready to cast stones do we think of the mercy we wish others would offer to us when we make mistakes?

I'm not saying that you have to life everyone or life what they stand for, but as Christians we state that we model our lives after Christ, but yet sometimes Christians are the most judgmental and prideful people I know (members of my church included). How often does Christ look at us and think like that original poster and think, "You say you follow me, but you just don't get it."

How can we define ourselves as followers of Christ, yet not live His most basic doctrines, to love one another? Please note that He didn't say, "Love one another as long as they are kind, you agree with everything they say, and they are easy to get along with."

Regardless of your religious beliefs, there is more that we can do. First of all, accept that everyone has the right to an opinion, even if you don't agree with it. Even if it goes against every moral and fiber of your being they have the right to an opinion. They even have the right to voice their opinion, and you do it! However, neither of you have the right to force or enforce your opinion on others. Neither of you have the right to cast stones (even mentally) at a person just because they don't share your view, your lifestyle, your standards, or your ideals.

A few years ago I adopted a simple idea that has really changed how I view others..

Judge Less. Help More.

What if we all adopted this standard? What would the world be like? I'll be honest, the world will probably never know, but I'll let you in on a secret. You can. You can try a little harder to be a little better, and your world can change. Those around you will see it, and you can help them change their world too.

I am not perfect. I am sincerely hoping that this post doest come off as self righteous, because I know that I am far from being perfect. However, I am striving. Striving to give others the benefit of the doubt, to love them as human beings even if I don't like them as a human being, and to serve those I don't understand.

I'm going to keep trying, and I'm sure there are millions worldwide doing the same. Join us.
Change your world.

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