Recently in the news there was a big to-do over the current president of Chick-Fil-A, Dan Cathy, and his response to a question by the Baptist Press in regards to the support of a traditional family.
I couldn't believe the comments and the amount of anger that raged on-line and in the press when this happened. People started throwing out words like "bigot" and "un-Christian." My insides began to churn and I was so confused. I am not one for confrontation and I certainly don't like contention. Not to mention that I felt totally un-informed. Everyone was throwing out their own opinions and no facts or references where I could turn to to be educated on where all this anger and frustration was actually surfacing from.
I first went to wiktionary to look up the word bigot. That's right, I just admitted to now knowing a word I probably should have learned in high school. Here is what it stated:
bigotry (plural bigotries)
Right then I was even more confused! By creating a boycott on his company, or by spewing out words of anger, weren't the people calling one a bigot then becoming bigotted themselves? Argh! I was only more and more confused thinking, "Can't we all just get along and those that aren't seeing eye to eye just agree to disagree?"
Then I spent some time on the phone with my sister-in-law and she was sharing with me her conversations with friends and how upset it was making her and I couldn't believe that so much dischord could happen because of one persons views. She had told me that someone had stated that no where in the bible does it state that homosexuality is wrong, and then it dawned on me!
I have to stop trusting in everyone else's words and find the truth for myself in a place where I know without a doubt that the answers are true. So I shut out the world for the remainder of the afternoon and sat down with my scriptures.
A peace came over me and there was that calmness I had been looking for. I found the answers that put my mind at ease, and even more so when the mail arrived and in it was the Ensign for the month of September. I devoured the magazine and felt my spiritual reservoir fill with water and knew exactly how I needed to respond to this situation. Here are a few of my favorite excerpts from it:
"It is up to us to distinguish between questions that are truly essential to our eternal progress and those that result from intellectual curiosity, need for proof or desire for personal satisfaction.
...spiritual knowledge cannot be proven by logic or physical evidence.
"When we are troubled, our first reflex must be to search the scriptures and the words of the living prophets.
"To strengthen our testimonies and protect ourselves from error, we must therefore constantly nourish and fortify our faith."
"...All of our nation's religious citizens need to develop a respect for other religious people and their beliefs. We need not accept their beliefs, but we can respect the people and realize that we have more in common with each other then we ever will with the secularizers of this country.
"When we look beyond people's color, ethnic group, social circle, church, synagogue, mosque, creed, and statement of belief, and when we try our best to see them for who and what they are - children of the same God - something good and worthwhile happens within us, and we are thereby drawn into a closer union with that God who is the Father of us all."
Joseph Smith said, "If I esteem mankind to be in error, shall I bear them down? No. I will lift them up, and in their own way too, if I cannot persuade them my way is better; and I will not seek to compel any man to believe as I do, only by the force of reasoning, for truth will cut its own way.
...Christians should cease wrangling and contending with each other, and cultivate principles of union and friendship in their midst;"
How do I choose to respond to this situation? I choose to love everyone, avoid contention and trust that the spirit will direct my conversation when asked my opinion. Most importantly, I hope that others will realize that it seems most people have made up their minds on the situation, and you cannot change their views. Leave it be and let it go. Focus on the things in your personal relationships that unite you and let those things lead your discussions.