“You know that stuff can kill you, right?”
“What proof do you have?” I replied.
“There’s lots of science out there that proves that most of those sugar substitutes will give you cancer. You should watch this documentary.” And she gave me the name of a movie.
Every night I drink these powdered energy drinks at about 11pm and they help me work through the night. These drinks are sugar free (it’s Aspartame so my pre-diabetes is not threatened), it has taurine (or whatever the energy drink chemical is) and I dilute it into two bottles of clean, healthy tap water. Whatever it is about the stuff, it makes me feel so good, it keeps me creative and alert, and makes me feel like how I was built to work.
But this friend of mine believes that Aspartame will mame or kill a person. The research she has heard and believes says that to live the most fulfilling life, you’re gonna want to avoid the stuff (and I know she’s not the only one.)
But I don’t apply to that belief (yet), so perhaps she has no right to command me I have to stop. But even if she does tell me she doesn’t think I should do it, it doesn’t mean she doesn’t love me. In fact it shows me she loves me more!
And it doesn’t make her not hang out with me or get angry at me. And she definitely is not judging condemnation on me. In fact, even when she tells me about the documentary that preaches how Aspartame will kill ya, she’s doing it because she loves me! She’s a good friend and is doing her best to care for me.
This is an imperfect metaphor but it’s kind of how I think Christians who believe gay marriage is wrong should treat the issue. Especially now that the Supreme Court deemed it legal in every state. (I hope they don’t ban Aspartame.) If I understand right, The Supreme Court has deemed that because not everybody prescribes to the same belief, those who don’t believe it should be practiced can’t ask the others to apply to the same ethic. Honestly, I’m still developing where I stand on the issue (I have a high empathy for the issue, and after all, I live in what is by some accounts the gayest city in the US: Atlanta), but many Christians believe that the research Christians believe in (The Bible) says homosexuality is wrong.
But when someone asks us about our beliefs, wherever we fall, we must be careful not to tell them they are certainly wrong, lest we insult their intelligence, lose our credibility with them, and make them feel unaccepted. But we, as either side, can respectfully and humbly say our beliefs. We can say we believe they are right or wrong. I think that until something is proven in a way that we all can agree on, we have to be careful not to criticize people who don’t prescribe to our ethic, a.k.a the set of research that we believe in.
But if we find ourselves angry or hateful, or not wanting to hang out with someone because of it, we need to check ourselves because maybe it means our beliefs aren’t the reason we are so opposed to it. It might be coming from our fear of change, or it might be threatening to open some doors to our own scary demons. And that’s okay. Work through it with people you trust. I’ve had to work through difficult sexuality stuff too. I think a lot of us do. If you want to talk to me I’d be honored.
Because, like my friend who thinks Aspartame is bad for me, if I ask her and she shares what she thinks are the benefits of her belief system, she should not sound condemning on mine at all. And she should not sound mean because IT SHOULD ONLY BE BECAUSE SHE LOVES ME.
So if we find ourselves acting out of fear or hate regarding an issue like this with our friends, we should ask ourselves if maybe it is something other than love that is driving us to treat it like that.
And if you do come to me like that, I’ll assume you don’t really care for me, and I’m gonna just keep drinking my beloved Aspartame.
Raw Spoon, 6-29-15