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  • Writer's pictureJim Donaher

Mind Your Own Business

As I observe the world and particularly the challenging state of the U.S., I'm struck by how much of the conflict and animosity between people stems from the inability to mind one's own business.

My main job is to love others as myself. To show compassion and care for other people, who are sinners too, just as I am. I don't decide - or I shouldn't decide - whether their sins are worse than mine. And it's certainly not my job to judge or condemn someone else.

It's in this spirit that we have the saying, "Live and Let Live." I live my life, you live yours. I don't impinge on you, and you let me be me.

Ideally, we accept one another regardless of what our sins may be. We are united, not in how we sin, but that we sin. We're all sinners. Each of us does something that falls short of God's will or purpose for our lives.

My job is to minimize and eliminate my own sin, not to judge yours. That is true for all of us. We should empathize, commiserate, respect and support each other. Not the sin. The people who commit sin. God loves all of us. He doesn't like that we sin, but He will forgive us if we confess and sincerely try to do better.

To look at it another way, it is a serious sin to judge others harshly and mistreat them in any way. Plainly stated, if I am a Christian and I am discriminating against others based on what I perceive as their sin, I am wrong. God has sin under control. He will decide what is sin and judge us accordingly. He will correct us - all of us - in this life or the next. God has no need for me to go about policing other people's behavior. To do that is to behave as a Pharisee.

The other thing that concerns me is that much of this judgement is rooted in something far darker - hate, including all its subvariants. It's not acceptable to say we hate anyone, especially whole groups, so instead, we invoke God's word in support of our disdain for them, as if that makes it okay. Because if you read God's word and the message you get is to hate, you need to read it again. And not just out-of-context clips. The whole thing. If you do, you will see that Jesus, who is God in human form, commands us to love one another. Period. End of command. No exceptions.

These hatreds manifest themselves in euphemisms like 'making America like it used to be' or '...great again.' That is code for going back to a time when we were less tolerant, open-minded, and accepting. Those who fit the mold are the ones clamoring for a return to the old days. Those who don't fit that limited mold know that those times were not good for people like them.

People of color, LGBTQ+, immigrants, religious minorities, non-binary people and others long for a day when they need not worry about being themselves, a privilege that many of us take for granted. That day is not in our past, nor our present. But it's out there.

To reach that day, we have to keep growing in faith and compassion. As believers, when we let God do His job and we do ours, we are blessed, other people are blessed, and the world is a better place. That better place will be one where we build one another up, respect one another, support, defend, and love one another.



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