He answered, “It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from the Master’s table.” Matthew 15, 26-27.
I would love to hear Luis give a sermon on this passage. It is maybe the only time that someone who believes in Jesus and his mission, gets the better of the argument. The Pharisees try all the time, only to fail every time, but in this case a believing Gentile turns his words around to make her point.
Readers of the Pew know that I am troubled by how legitimate differences of opinion are minimized by labeling. We hear, way to often, a lack of respect for differences. Ask yourself how often you’ve heard lately someone say in effect, “if you don’t agree with me, you must be a ___________.” Fill in the blank.
In playgrounds of old, I remember words thrown out like “sissy, momma’s boy or girl, chicken, etc.” Those words hurt and as we grew up we learned not to use them. Label somebody something worse and a bar of soap was liberally applied to one’s mouth.
It seems that today, if we disagree with someone over political preferences, workplace issues, legitimate or not so legitimate fears, the list goes on and on, rather than trying to walk in the other’s shoes it is a lot easier to label the individual and to discard them as human beings.
We are not called to agree with our neighbors, but to begin to love them as we are called to do, we begin with respect. Even when they are shouting at the rooftops things that make our blood boil, we must respect them as children of God.
People will disappoint. Institutions act through people and they too will disappoint. But there is a huge divide between seeking to change behavior and disrespect.
When there is an injustice it is our duty to seek change, but I am convinced that change is only made more difficult if we seek change without respect.
Legitimate debate and discourse must occur with respect or else it is nothing more than noise. When we disrespect our fellow human beings, we disrespect God.
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