Normally I don’t listen to talk radio. But the other day I thought it was the top of the hour so I tuned my car radio to hear the newscast. Unfortunately I was a couple of minutes early and I caught the radio personality as he was ranting against someone.

He said, “He is just like every other _______.” Then he added, “But we are interested in what is best for everyone.”

I do not know who the person was that he was castigating nor what the issue was that he was so worked up over. I do know that I am glad I had been spared the earlier part of his speech.

I believe it is human and healthy to hold different opinions. We can learn from one another IF we allow open and respectful dialogue. But when one person or group is made to appear as morons, maniacs, or mean people who don’t care about anyone but themselves, much harm results.

When “I” think “you” are wrong and “you” think “I” am wrong, we are in trouble. Life is not that simplistic. That attitude leads us to places we don’t need to go and prevents conversations that we need to have.

We do not live in a world where bad guys always wear black and good guys always wear white.

I am a person with strong opinions and I am not timid about expressing them. I want my voice heard and my position understood. It is not nearly as important to me that anyone agree with me as it is that others hear me and respect me. At the same time I am willing to give everyone the same privilege.

Civil dialogue is a healthy and helpful exercise.

I believe in a God who knows all things and is all-wise. But God is the only One that has all knowledge and possesses all wisdom. Every single human being is limited and it is incredible that anyone would presume to have THE right answer.

The Bible tells us that God is no “respecter of persons” (I Corinthians 10:34). In other words, God’s creation is intended to be diverse and God doesn’t show partiality to any group of people over another. All are loved and respected equally. That does not mean that everyone is “right” and that God approves of every attitude and action. But every individual is made in the image of God and is loved by God. Every person has sacred worth and deserves to be treated with dignity.

It does not matter if I am young or old. White or black or brown. Rich or poor. Exceptional or just plain ordinary. Married or single. Gay or straight. Christian or Muslim. Democrat or Republican. Liberal or conservative. Male or female.

It is not necessary to agree with one another but it is essential that we love one another. Each one of us is a unique creation of God who is worthy of love and respect.

Jamie Jenkins

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