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Do Unto Others...
...or, um, don't?

by Flicker

Self-sacrifice: Is this not the very foundation of the Christian religion? I find it sadly disturbing that those who would have me conform to their righteous ways would so flippantly overlook the essence of the institution that shelters them.

For quite some time now, I have watche a dear friend of mine struggle to develop his ideals beyond the cookie-cutter truths of his mother's faith. He will soon be eighteen, and (if only legally) "free at last". Unfortunately, there is no magic number which entitles him to respect.

An example: I recently traveled to the graduation ceremony of another close friend. My car has been permanently classified as a roadside sculpture, so I rode with an acquaintance who happened to be going to the same place. My friend was only an hour-and-a-half away from the town that weekend, so he offered to give me a ride home ... even though his car had recently been in the shop. The water pump had been replaced, but he was told that the car should run reliably.

It was a few minutes past ten in the morning when the police car pulled into the driveway. My friend's vehicle had broken down a little over halfway through the trip. A state trooper gave him $20 and a ride the rest of the way. Another kind soul gave us both a ride home. We were blessed with warm, sunny weather ... and our safety. The trouble? According to his mother, the car breaking down was clearly some sort of "punishment" for being disobedient unto the "Lord God's Will". How, you ask?

1.My friend should have known that his mother would not have approved of him driving the car anyplace "unnecessary" when it might still have problems.

2.(The real reason) Because of what she perceives to be my beliefs, she has declared me an "enemy of her God". Thus, any attempt her son makes to associate with me must clearly be in direct conflict with "her God's Will". She has specifically stated that she will not support any relationship between her son and myself, and that as long as he chooses to keep me as a part of his life, she will not support him. (Ouch.)

Again I ask: Is not self-sacrifice the essence of the Christian religion? Do the scriptures not encourage their followers to help their brothers and sisters in need, regardless of personal cost? Why would my friend be "punished" for this? We need to look no further than Jesus of Nazareth, who gave his life and love unquestioningly, even as he hung dying amidst his persecutors. Or, look to the night of his birth: Do we glorify the innkeepers who turned away Mary and Joseph? Of course not.

It saddens my heart to see a culture so intent on intolerance and judgement. These are not the qualities I want branded into the minds of my children. As long as our society focuses on the narcissism, exclusion, and degradation rather than simple acceptance and love, we will continue to self-destruct. Therein lies your Satan, Mrs._________" not our beliefs, but your hatred of them.