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Letter: Don’t condemn others with different beliefs

had the opportunity to visit with two friends of mine over coffee. One of them I hadn’t had the chance to visit with for years. The three of us had three different faiths, and we were able to share our views with each other without feeling defensive or threatened. It was a lovely time and I left that meeting appreciating the chance to be with them.

I got home and checked Facebook. I’d received a link from another lady. It instantly made me outraged and searching for some ammunition from my viewpoint to fire back at her. Which I’m sorry to say, I did. I even threw scripture at her to back up my opinion.

Then I thought, “Why is this different? Why is this okay, to get angry and all up in arms about someone else’s point of view. I’d just spent two hours with two women who have different beliefs than I do, and I enjoyed it.”

The first exchange of ideas was simply sharing. None of us felt the need to defend our views. It was done out of respect for our differences. The second exchange of ideas was based on fear and pretentiousness. It accomplished nothing but anger.

I realized that I had responded in each situation to not only the message, but more importantly in the same spirit it was delivered.

That was the difference.

I have learned that usually, when someone’s behavior makes you angry or threatened. It’s because there is something important inside you that needs to be addressed. It’s called mirroring.

In the case with the lady on Facebook, I was just as self- righteous and condemning as she was. And that isn’t okay. It may feel okay at the time, but it really accomplishes nothing of value.

I’m thankful for this lesson and I hope that by sharing this with you, you will benefit from what I’ve learned.

We are entitled to our opinions and beliefs. But when we condemn others for not thinking or believing the same way we do, we negate our faith in our beliefs. When we feel it is okay to denigrate others because of their differences. It is a denigration of ourselves.

Actions carried out in anger or hatred will never accomplish anything but hatred and anger.

Andrea Thelin