I have a plaque in my downstairs bathroom with a beloved Bible quote "I have no greater joy than to hear my children walk in truth." Love that. Now, it's important to note what this quote doesn't say. It does not say "I have no great joy than to see I've sucessfully dragged my children kicking and screaming into a truth they may not understand or agree with, using my authority to force them into responsible choices."
Herein lies where my heart is concerning all people. I believe certain things. I believe them with a tenacity and passion that would suprise most people who think they know me. Those beliefs are lived out, with ferocious adherence to what I know to be true and right, for me. I teach my children these things because if they weren't important enough to impart on my children, I wouldn't be living them in the first place. What those beliefs are don't matter in the grand scheme of things; what matters is that I am ever concious of the fact that they would not suit everyone else on planet Earth.
I take absolutely no satisfaction in what my children do because they have been made to do under my authority. What I delight in is when the choices they make are wise, thoughtful and compassionate, of their own free will.
We do have laws in our home that make it a fair and comfortable place to live. We are all expected to treat one another well, to withhold from any activity that would make our prescence a burden to those who live within these walls and to make a fair contribution to the unit by using our talents, skills and abilities. We do not have laws that force benevolence or righteous behavior. I know how that sounds. What? You don't force your children to be nice to each other? GAH!! But no, no we do not force our children to do such things. How could we? What would be the point? If the kindness wouldn't spring from their hearts, and we have still forced them to ACT kind, what have we truly gained?
This is how I feel about our society and our laws. So many in positions of leadership are absolutely desperate for laws that reflect their own version of morality, believing (in my opinion, wrongly) that if there were certain laws governing how people acted or what they could and couldn't do, our society would be a healthier, stronger one. But they miss the point. Any motivation on our parts comes from within ourselves (and I do realize that faith in something plays a major role, but this is also found within us, our hearts and our minds) not from without. Something that is absolutely okay for other people that sears my conscience would be something I could rightfully abstain from. But is the answer to then outlaw that which would weigh on me, morally speaking? I don't feel right about leaving a shopping cart in the parking lot. I return it to the cart corral pretty religiously. Should I then make that which bothers me illegal for everyone else? Where would we draw the line with that?
It is against the law in our home to forcibly assert one's will onto another person. They may not hit each other. They may not use vile language to one another. They may not steal one another's possessions, defile another person's property or invade one another's personal space. They may, however, choose to leave one child out when they are playing if the child in question is being a nuisance. It's their free will to include or disclude whom they choose. The offending child learns an important lesson that one must act in an appropriate way in order to be included. What have I gained if I forced two obedient children to choose between their own peace of mind (by rebelling against my authority by still discluding the offending child) and wanting to fit rightfully into society by obeying an unfair demand on their automony (by letting the offending child back in the game) In the end, it works itself out. Not because children are necessarily the most discerning creatures, but because they have learned from experience how to get along together, sometimes agreeing to disagree.
It's not always "fair" and that's okay. As they say, life is certainly not fair. But it should always be just. We have no right to take that which God has endowed us with (free will) away from anyone else, and yet the current political scene has many players trying to do just that. I have felt so torn fo so long about what I feel is true and righteous for me as opposed to what I feel about the powers that be making these things required for everyone else. That scares me. What scares me the most is that these people actually REALLY believe that a law, or a set of them, would actually improve our society when those laws speak to a person's morality. There's no allowance for a person's deepest beliefs to be considered. On either side of the coin, there are people you don't know making judgement calls on YOUR life and the lives of those you love. I can't understand how that doesn't frighten every last American citizen. How did we get to a point where this isn't riling up the masses who are shouting "ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!"
Dude, take my tax money (well, my husband's) and keep my roads passable, keep my libraries open, keep my civil servants paid and my community functioning, but for the love of GOD, keep your hand out of my personal life and everyone else's. It's just NOT YOUR JOB.
(My name is Melissa Coffey and I approved this message)