We stopped at a Christian thrift store the other day. While inside the store, I heard a very loud and boisterous man talking about his view of God and religion. It is a free country and he is perfectly allowed to do this. However, he was very rude in making sure everyone in the store heard what he had to say. It was like forced religious babble.
As he continued speaking loudly, he began to talk about a group of people that to him were evil and a threat to our way of life. The hatred, intolerance, and bigotry spewing forth from his mouth infuriated and disgusted me. The things he was saying were so vile and so full of hate that I could barely stomach any of the words he was speaking.
I finally had to leave because I could not take one more minute of what he was saying. I felt sad for the group of people he was degrading. I felt even more sad for this guy's intolerance. I am sure this man most likely never met the ones he was degrading.
He was hating this group of people out of not truly knowing them. His hatred seemed to arise from his fears. To be honest, I'm not sure where in "HIS" Bible, it shows that Jesus hated others and would talk this way. Yet, the man that purported to love Jesus and follow him must have missed the lesson Jesus taught where he said "Love One Another."
My ears had heard enough and to keep myself from reacting in a way that I would have regretted, I left the store. It took me awhile to let go of the anger I had at hearing these things. Every button from my past had been pushed.
It was not until we walked into another thrift store that the lady said, "welcome to our store," with a smile on her face, that I felt love and compassion for others shine through. This was not another Christian thrift store but one that valued all people as humans. In that moment, her smile of love and compassion connected with my heart. That one simple act meant the world to me in that moment. It was at that moment that I was able to let this go and change my thoughts from anger to acceptance of this intolerant man.
(Above Picture taken at Dandelion Communitea Cafe, Orlando, FL - (c) 09/17/10) Listening to the band, Dreamcatcher, perform on 9/17/10
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