We need to be able to walk in another’s shoes

Just because my experience is different than someone else’s doesn’t nullify their emotions or experiences.

Editor’s note: This letter is in response to the April 18 Church Corner, “Love everyone, even if their opinions differ from yours.”

At first glance, the premise of loving everyone even when they disagree with you sounds honorable enough. In fact, it is a pretty good lesson to live by.

But I believe that Ross Holtz oversimplified a few things in his recent article and I would like to address that here.

I, too, am a Christian but was disheartened to see how tightly he clung to his “opinions,” specifically Black Lives Matter (I’ll address that in a moment).

Meeting Jesus frees you from needing to be “right” all of the time and allows you to recognize that he alone is right. The Bible calls us to be all things to all people (1 Corinthians 9), which requires us to enter into the world of another person.

Does this mean we compromise our convictions or the truth of the gospel? Absolutely not.

But I think it would serve all of us well, Mr. Holtz included, if we were more willing to listen and understand.

Just because my experience is different than someone else’s doesn’t nullify their emotions or experiences. In the case of Black Lives Matter, no one is saying that “white lives don’t matter.”

That statement doesn’t even need to be said because there is ample evidence that white lives matter very much – as a white woman, I’ve never worried that stores wouldn’t carry makeup to match my skin tone and I certainly haven’t worried about anything worse than a speeding ticket if I get pulled over.

But – and here is the hard part – I need to be willing to accept the fact that my experience may not be shared with other people (made in God’s image) in this world.

And that’s OK.

It’s OK to hold tension between vastly different experiences and be willing to enter in the mess of another person’s life. God knows my story is messy, too.

It is only by his grace, his willingness to identify with me and trade places with me that I am able to extend that grace to other people.

Jesus was the ultimate example of this and the Bible tells us plainly that he laid down himself for the sake of another so that we might do the same for others. It would serve us all well to listen more, talk less, and be less concerned with being “right.”

Melynda O’Brien

Black Diamond

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