“He marches to the beat of a different drummer.”
“Different strokes for different folks.”
We are a world of variety in life styles, persuasions and philosophies. What works for you may be anathema for me and your choice of music could drive me whacko. I love John Philip Sousa, Bach, and John Lennon and I have no idea what hip-hop is.
How often have you heard the above quotes used to describe someone who is not like we are? How do you react? Do you avoid, sneer, snicker, taunt, bully? Or do you love and embrace the differences? If we follow the entity which is the Higher Power in our lives, the path is clear to us. Bill W. exhorts tolerance in our AA literature. It is clearly stated in the sacred writings of all major religions and specifically cited as the greatest of commandments, after loving your God, repeatedly in New Testament writings of the Bible.
We have the instructions, the commandments, and the strength of Godly fellowships to guide us in our relationships with the rest of humanity which will lead to civility, tolerance, peace, and shalom (wholeness & completeness).
So, where have we gone wrong? Why are war, brutality, murders, suicide bombings, and genocide filling the screens we view every day? What we have is a far cry from what our world should be.
“The sky is blue.”
“No, stupid, the sky is green.”
Therein lies the problem. My truth may not be the same as your truth. I have been raised to equate the sky as blue. But, you may have been told that the color I see as blue is green to you. Or you could be color blind. Or one of us may have a need to be contrary.
Whatever the reason for disagreeing, it is evident that our truths are not the same even though we both call it truth. When we apply this to our religious philosophies, each of us certain that our truth is absolute and every other conviction is in error, we have created a breeding ground for hatred and discontent.
Jesus said, “I am the Way: the truth and the life.”
Obviously, a great number of his contemporaries disagreed. It got him crucified. Maybe he was the truth, maybe he and his followers of the Way had the answers. But others, Jews and Romans, held to a differing truth and had no qualms about pressing their version.
So, how can I honor my truth and yet respect and uphold the faiths of Jews, Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhists who sincerely believe they have the way? Answers were much easier and forthright in a previous church affiliation I experienced many years ago. Everything was in black or white, all answers were concrete, and everyone outside our church was damned…..or at least unblessed.
And there is my answer. I know from that church affiliation what the truth is not. It is not narrow. It is not exclusive. It is not bitter. It is not vindictive. It is not vengeful. It is not proud. It is not arrogant.
Truth is love. Love is truth. Jesus is both. And that, short and simple, is the entirety of my religion.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 tells me everything I need to know about religion, about faith, about conviction, and yes, about truth.
4″ Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails……”