Four years or so ago I was finishing up my last day on a contracting assignment. My manager, a Muslim, walked me out to my car. This was my second time working with him and we had been through the wringer together. Often high-stress situations and aggressive deadlines bring out the worst in people, but it brought out the best in each of us and we developed a great relationship. He has said on multiple occasions that he considers me a brother rather than just a friend. As he walked me out to my car I could tell he was a bit nervous about something. He explained to me that many people have misconceptions about Islam and he gave me an Islam tract. I’m pretty sure he remembered a couple of late night talks when we had discussed God, terrorism, abortion, and other topics, so I was a little surprised he would try to convert me knowing that I was a Christian. Despite my surprise, I took it, thanked him, told him I appreciated it, shook his hand, and told him I hoped we got a chance to work together again in the future. He didn’t yell at me or call me an infidel. I didn’t feel the need to argue with him or give the tract back. I could recognize the fact that his gesture was because he cared about me as well as my spiritual well being. Because I saw that, it made it all the easier to respectfully listen rather than reject or argue his message.
To be clear, I am eternally gratefully to Jesus, by whom and through whom I have access to my Father in Heaven and eternal life. I am firmly rooted in my faith and therefore know that I will never convert to my friend’s religion or worldview. Yet I hold dear the fact that because he is firm in his convictions, he felt the need to share with me. It’s what people who care about others do. It’s called love. If a corner of my neighbors’ house is on fire and I know they are asleep, I’m going to bang on their windows to wake them. Yes, it might jolt them awake and they may take issue for a moment, but once the big picture is revealed, they will thank me for my efforts. This, to me, is what I love about America. We can be neighbors, even in the face of disagreement, when we share our beliefs out of a genuine concern for the well being of the other.
We no longer live in that America.
Unfortunately, in rapid pace, the radical activist America has hijacked the “real” America. I was recently encouraged to read about the gay and lesbian couples who contributed to the support fund for Memories Pizza, explaining that despite the fact that they don’t agree with the owner’s support of traditional marriage, they were fans of free speech and ashamed of those from their side who went as far as to threaten to burn the restaurant down. The former is the real America (their words, not mine) and the latter is the radical fringe that wants to shut down free speech. From what I’ve heard and read, that radical fringe does not represent the views of the vast majority of those who live a homosexual lifestyle just like the views of the Westboro Baptist Church folks are not shared by the vast majority of Christians. The media and social engineers/experimenters want to pit us against each other in all out war. They want to tell us that a Christian and a Muslim can’t be friends. They want to tell us how we’re supposed to believe and behave because apparently they think we’re unable to figure things out on our own. Those forces are at work to label us and divide us as Americans because they know that divided we will fall as a republic. However, as a united country, we will stand. Maybe it’s time for some real love. Real love never fails. Yelling at people in anger like the WBC does not reflect real love. Taking away the inalienable right to free speech out of spite does not reflect real love either. Real love isn’t afraid to voice concern to the other but does so with respect. Real love recognizes that concern and appreciates it, even when there is disagreement. #RealLoveWins