The year was around 2009 and my middle daughter and I were sitting in Urgent Care waiting to be seen. There was an older couple in there as well. Ellen was on and had just made some funny comments. Mackenzie and I both laughed. The older couple’s conversation went something like this:
The Man: that was funny.
The Woman: WHAT?
The Man: I said that was funny! (In a much louder I-can’t-hear-you-voice.)
The Woman: too bad she’s gay.
The Man: WHAT?
The Woman: I said she is funny. Too bad she’s gay.
We looked at each other wondering what being gay had to do with her ability to be funny. At the time we both kind of laughed it off and didn’t really think anything about it. They were old blah, blah, blah.
Fast forward ten years and we’ve come to a place where we can’t even sit together and enjoy a football game if we are different than each other. This is former President George Bush, a conservative Republican and Ellen DeGeneres a liberal gay celebrity having a laugh at the Dallas Cowboys game.
Ellen shares on her show (in the video link towards the bottom) that some people wrote to her upset that she could sit with someone like President Bush AND actually enjoy it!
I just don’t get it. Since when has it become so hard to simply be kind to each other? I can’t be friends with (or kind to for that matter) him because he’s gay or her because she’s conservative. How did we get here?
Are we scared to be kind to people who are different than us? That perhaps their differences will rub off on us like elementary school cooties?
Differences are an invitation for dialogue, not division. (Caleb Kaltenbach author of Messy Grace)
Lest you think I have no opportunity to show kindness, as you read this I am spending the day with my Dad who wasn’t around much when I was growing up. We are as different as night and day both politically and spiritually. And yet we have commonalities because we are more than politics and religion.
Besides that I have five grown kids who all think and act differently than I do. There have been ample opportunities to choose to show kindness to one another even when we disagreed with each other.
To the conservative people who think they need to speak Truth with no Grace or Love. The Truth you speak of also commands to be kind and compassionate to one another. (Ephesians 4:32 CSB) You want to show people Jesus? Be kind.
To the LGBTQ community who think being friends with a conservative is worse than bamboo shoots under your nails: not every one whose beliefs are more traditional carry signs shouting Turn or Burn or God hates fags.
We’ve got to stop looking at each other solely through a lense based on a political party or sexual identity. We are more than that! We have gifts and talents and jobs and big hearts and smarts. We are painters and comedians, musicians and writers. Moms and Dads and Grandparents. We are students and teachers, counselors and firefighters. Math wizards and science majors. We are all made in the image of God.
Somehow we’ve forgotten that being human means being kind to human beings.
It’s okay to laugh at Ellen because she IS funny! (period) Here is the monologue from her show. She explains things so much better than me as I’m still over here scratching my head and wondering why we’re so scared to be kind.