I have been thinking about something quite often lately.
Something that I would like to share my thoughts on hoping to receive understanding.
I have some dear friends, made at different stages in life, that have chosen to not to continue their church attendance. In each case, it has felt like a personal blow to me. That sounds harsh. But what it means is this:
I have had personal experiences with these people that seemed to cement parts of my testimony of the Savior. I have experienced amazing things in their presence. Miracles, really. Some small, some large. It's hard for me to fathom that those experiences did not do the same for them.
However, that is not at all what this post is about.
I may have experienced miracles with these people, but I have not experienced everything with them.
I was not there for the moments that brought them to "the line", I like to call it.
This is totally doctrine of Stephanie- I believe there is a 'line' or moment/moments/experiences that lead you to a point of despair when you have to make the ultimate choice. The choice is whether or not to continue on your current path.
I often wonder what my 'line' is...
I do recall a time when Jimmy and I were driving to the emergency room on a Sunday after an already extremely difficult and trying week. I was beyond my tolerance of frustration, it felt.
I remember saying these words out loud, "If it wasn't the Sabbath, I would drive to the liquor store and drink myself into oblivion."
It may sound funny now- even typing that sentence was humorous- but I was serious. I have never had alcohol before. But I was so angry at God for the hand we had been dealt that I was willing to do something to get back at Him. I suppose I wasn't angry enough because I was willing to disobey the word of wisdom but not one of the ten commandments. I felt very close to the line that day.
From the friends I have talked to openly about their choice to leave the church I have gained a sense of understanding. Mostly understanding that it is never and will never be my place to judge. Thank goodness. I don't blame these friends for their decision. I would be lying if I said it doesn't hurt, but it doesn't make me love them any less. In fact, I have an overwhelming compassion when they experience discrimination from those who don't agree with their choice. It hurts me that there are members of this church I hold so dear that choose to treat my friends with contempt. Well, that's definitely not one of Christ's teachings!
How can I explain this more clearly?
I feel like I am walking around the point that is so very cut and dry in my head. In my head I feel this:
It is not my place to judge anyone's choices.
When I choose to discriminate against anyone for their beliefs, regardless of how different they are, I am not choosing the right.
Christ's love is all encompassing, to all people.
Just because someone does not share my beliefs, does not mean they are a bad person.
Those sound like such simple truths.
But I have watched in all forms of media multiple violations of these truths.
Discrimination in all forms is wrong.
When I am persecuted for my beliefs it is no different than the persecution suffered due to sexual preference, race, gender etc.
It boggles my mind the amount of ridiculous lawsuits pointing blame for the pursuit of retribution. Retribution does not come from a settlement. Or a messy court battle.
Retribution comes from moving on and being the bigger person.
I do believe that in some instances, legal intervention is necessary.
But suing someone for giving you the wrong sauce with your chicken nuggets?! Please!
I hate that I live in a world where people are afraid to speak out because of the backlash they receive.
There are people being fired for being gay.
There are people being fired for believing that being gay is wrong.
Do you see how wrong this is?
In both cases, don't you think the best thing would be to agree to disagree?
The differences in people are what make a beautiful world.
My favorite color is purple, I love ribeye- cooked medium rare, the ultimate perfect day is spent with my family hiking, I find peace reading the scriptures and I hate fennel seed.
There are infinite things that make me who I am.
There is a list of feelings I have, opinions I hold and experiences I've lived.
I do not expect anyone to feel exactly how I feel about any one thing. But I do have a hope that people will over look my flaws as best they can to see all that makes Stephanie.
This Stephanie. The imperfect, crazy woman who loves fiercely and holds much close to her heart. I promise to do my best to over look your flaws and see who you are- and love you for it.