Pots & Kettles

I thought I’d be tougher by now. I thought for sure that once I educated myself on my values and why I believe what I believe, that standing my ground would be easier. That fighting the good fight was a righteous effort. Despite there being some truth to these things, the ultimate truth is, I’m just as sensitive as I ever was.  

While I have learned how to engage the haters under pressure, pause when I feel angry, exercise self-restraint in heated situations, none of this makes being on the receiving end of immense vitriol any easier. I publicly came out in a blog post last year, and I can truly say that nothing has made me feel more attacked and isolated than when I voice my Christian values in a public forum. But this is the world we live in.

“Sexist,” “racist,” “fucking asshole,” “fucking moron,” every other -ism or phobia you can fathom – I’ve been called it all. All of these quotes are pulled verbatim from my experiences, either on Facebook or even in person. This is the world we live in. Outrage is more important than civility. People rush to claim moral authority while simultaneously slinging personal insults left and right. So, you pretend that you’re a better person than me, while calling me a “fucking asshole” in the same breath. Which moral compass are you directed by, my friend?

As much as I’ve tried to laugh it all off, it does build up. People I used to call “friends” have “unfriended” me without hesitation, all because of politics. I remember when it was socially inappropriate to even ask someone who they voted for. And now you’re expected to reveal every single thing you believe in – but beyond that, if you don’t believe in the things that are expected of you, you’re an enemy, your feelings are invalid, and if you so much as PRETEND that YOU are the victim, you’re a joke. You deserve to be isolated, you deserve to be hated.

What? On what planet did we learn to treat each other this way? And then we go up in arms when violent shootings and attacks break out across the country? How dare we pretend to be so clueless and offended all the time. Hatred and outrage are downright encouraged today.

The truth is, every single one of us lives in a bubble. We are all pots, we are all kettles. It’s just a matter of whether you can admit it to yourself or not. No one is immune to this. Los Angeles is as much of a bubble as Brookston, Indiana, in fact a much bigger one. The difference is that one bubble thinks they’re right, and the other bubble wants to be left the hell alone.

A good friend of mine once said, “We are all just worlds colliding.” Every single person we pass on the street has shit going on in their minds, deep struggles that they maybe cannot confront, maybe even a mental illness that they’re being medicated for. And yet, without so much as a simple, “Hello,” we will not hesitate to defame their very name and assassinate their character, all because they ticked us off by saying or doing something we don’t agree with.

I can admit that sometimes I voice my opinions in an objective, firm manner. I can also admit that I have never once lashed out at, cussed out or personally attacked a single person for holding beliefs that vehemently fly in the face of my own. I couldn’t even fathom it. I have dozens of friends with whom I disagree, and after a civil (or even heated) discussion, we’ve ended it with hugs and telling each other “I love you.” Because, since when did our politics define who we are as a complete human being?

It took me years, YEARS, to accept that some people just don’t want to face the truth. Some people are okay being deceived into believing that this is an appropriate way to conduct themselves. Once I realized this, I accepted something very profound, yet very simple; there always has been, and always will be, relentless evil at work in our world.

The Devil is the ultimate deceiver. I don’t mean this to say that the people who have lashed out at me are intrinsically evil. In fact, the opposite. I believe that everyone is born with a God-shaped void in their hearts. But as we grow older, we become faced with choices. Sometimes, we make choices that we believe are good, but in reality, we allow ourselves to be deceived. Let the sole indicator of deception lie in the blatant hypocrisy we view from people who preach “love” and “no hate,” yet are capable of regurgitating the very same hate back at you at the drop of a hat.

I thank God every day for showing me His perpetual grace so that I know how to live in truth.  

I don’t know the answer to any of this, besides the fact that our culture needs a heavy dose of objective moral revival, stat. I’m afraid I must end on a low note, because, who knows what good any of this will do anyway? I doubt any of the evil will ever fully go away.

After all, if evil didn’t exist, how would we know that what we stand for is good?

Patrick LeheComment