For the past week, I have dreaded going on Facebook. Not because it is a black hole that sucks away my time (though it is), and not because I didn’t want to hear anything about the Olympics (since I’m DVR’ing it and watching later). Rather, my dread came from the general anger and outrage over the statements made by the owner of Chick-fil-a.
I’m not going to further beat that dead horse by bringing up more arguments regarding the statements made, but rather focus on something else that I believe is a much deeper problem. So many of the comments on Facebook this week were not about discussing the statements that Mr. Cathy made, nor were they even about the issue(s) brought up by what he said. The vast majority of threads on the subject seemed to quickly devolve into shouting matches filled with hateful speech and pointless rhetoric from both sides.
And…it’s gotten us nowhere.
Never mind the fact that Facebook has to be the worst place for convincing someone else that your opinion is the only correct opinion (maybe Twitter would even be better because it would force people to be succinct in stating their cases). The social media platform, instead, simply served to worsen the already deep wounds that are so prevalent in our society. I believe those wounds have to heal before we can have any conversations in our country that aren’t reduced to neanderthalic, mud-slinging events. So, why are these wounds unable to heal?
Because we let our wounds define who we are.
I hope it doesn’t come as too much of a surprise that I have been discriminated against in every way possible. I have seen and heard it all. Don’t think for a second that hateful comments towards me haven’t left wounds. That would make me a robot. The difference in my life is that I have CHOSEN to not let those wounds define who I am.
If the scars of past statements and actions of others could alter my personality and beliefs, I would have become bitter and angry long ago. I believe that our society holds on to these scars either because being pitied can be addicting, or because they have not found anything to fill those holes in their lives. Either way, it is no way to truly live. You can become enslaved to these wounds to the point where you can’t live a positive life, and instead you simply become a fight waiting to happen. It is a broken existence.
Instead, the deep cuts that I have endured in life have made me stronger, and allowed me to serve others because I know what it feels like to be hurt. I am in a somewhat unique situation, and can help when other people are knocked down in life simply due to what I’ve experienced. How is that possible?
The ability to take an imperfect body like mine, and make it a life that is perfect in the eyes of God is solely credited to Jesus. My wounds can’t define who I am because HE defines who I am. And, while the scars may still be visible, the deep cuts have long ago healed through His love for me. That healing allows me to be free. It allows me not only to live, but to live happily.
I have no doubt that each and every person who chooses to read this has been hurt by someone else. I believe you when you say those pains run deep, and that it is hard to let go. What I refuse to believe is that you can’t let go. What happens to you is often out of your control, but your reaction to those events is 100% within your power. Your default reaction to pain can be re-learned to the point where you let your hurt go the moment after you have been wronged.
I don’t believe for a second that the vile nature that came out all over Facebook this week is simply because of the issue at hand. More likely, the spiteful things typed out on the social media giant’s site this week were born out of hurt. Hurt that has been building up for years, and explodes at every turn.
I challenge you to take that hurt…that pain…and give to God. He is big enough to manage your hurt while you take the time to heal. And, once you are on the path to healing, find others along the way who also need healing and care for them. Caring for each other is the only path towards a discrimination-free society…because it is hard to hate while you are loving.