How Dare You…

6 11 2012

…these are the words than kept running through my mind as I sat in a local coffee shop this afternoon pouring over church work. In the background, I overheard a very frustrating political conversation. In my mind, it was very much an example of how NOT to mentor someone and I wanted to walk over and say “How Dare You..”, but I didn’t know how, so I prayed for them as they spoke behind me.

To preface my vent, I’ll let you know that politically I am more independent than liberal or conservative, but probably somewhat of a conservative liberal if I must choose. Regardless, my political viewpoint isn’t what matters here. Anyways, this older woman was very loudly talking to an obviously developmentally-delayed young woman. They were discussing current local political issues – like marriage equality and what it means to vote like a Christian.

The older woman was quite obviously, vehemently, against anything/anyone that supported homosexual relationships. I didn’t know the relationship between these two women, but I could tell the older woman was in someway a mentor/guidance type of person in the young woman’s life. The young woman would ask a very basic question and state her belief and the older woman retorted back.. ” Ok, I hear you, but you really shouldn’t think that way. If you want to make Christian choices you need to believe this way..” And she proceeded to tell her how she was wrong and what she needed to believe. I think what irked me the most was not the older woman’s beliefs but the condescending tone she took to this woman with developmental disabilities. It sounded like such an abusive conversation, like she was taking advantage of the young lady’s disability – treating her as weak and vulnerable and assuming she was unable to make any sound moral judgments. It was as if she didn’t believe this young woman was capable of being Christian without being forced into believing the truth.

I don’t know if this makes any sense. But I simply could not believe someone was so blatantly rude and demeaning like that in a public setting. I pray that the young woman has other mentor in her life who wills treat her with dignity and belief that she is capable of making an informed – not spoon fed – decision. I prays that the older woman will stop abusing others as she seeks to educate.

I pray that we all can treat those who my seem to have different abilities and beliefs with respect – and give them an ounce of credit simply for wanting to be informed. Give them guidance, empowerment, and a voice. And re-direction if needed – but never in a demeaning manner. I especially need to remember this in my life. God give me the strength.

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