Forcing People to See It Your Way Will Not Work

This was my horoscope yesterday:

Your prediction for Sunday, Jul 2, 2017 is:

Avoid being obstinate in dealing with others today especially over spiritual or religious views; compromise. Turmoil is also possible in relationships if you try to impose your will on others. You may just need to take a walk or do something different than you are used to.

Not a big deal, really, unless you’d woken up raging about a float in the Canada Day parade and had every intention on blogging about said rage when you’d woken up that morning. A float that had certain religious connotations that I did not, in the very least, agree with.

honest opinion

Compromise? Compromise when the sign on said-float was the exact opposite of compromising? Turmoil is possible if I impose my will onto others? Why did I have to get this today of all days?

Because I needed to be reminded of a certain lesson Jesus taught: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” In this case I would add, “Even when those goddamn Christians refuse to do the same unto you!”

I know, I know…what the fuck am I talking about and why am I taking the lord’s name in vain when referring to his precious followers?

Let me explain. And for those of you who might actually understand some of the words of Jesus and actually try to live by them, who are Christian but who are genuinely considerate of others and their beliefs, keep in mind my taking of the lord’s name in vain does not apply to you.

My kids walked in the Canada Day parade on Saturday, so of course, I was watching it. It was rather enjoyable. A small, annual parade in a tiny village next to ours that we attend every year (because my kids walk in it every year with their swim club). Interestingly, this tiny village has actually been the home to many a religious sect, one of which had been termed an actual cult (by people in the area, not by the government, or the rcmp, or psychologists after a mass suicide or anything like that). Either way, it is a tiny village with some villagers who are not-so-tiny in their religious fervour.

Why do I say this? Because the sign on the village community church float said, “Jesus loves you whether you like it or not.”

Yep. Whether you like it or not.

Which means, you or I have no choice in the matter.

 

like it or not

I’m sure you’ve all heard that phrase before, usually behind the wagging finger of a parent or a teacher who is fed up with us, who is going to force their opinion, their agenda or their will upon us despite our desires or wants, so we basically have to accept whatever is going to happen to us because we have absolutely no say in the matter.

Not so sure about you, but that didn’t work all that well with me. And rarely, or never, was my parent’s or teacher’s agenda so righteous that it was worthy of trumping my will. Like the time my dad took us to Liard Hot Springs and I was too terrified to go in. Like, physically terrified. I couldn’t do it. My body rejected the hot spring with its steam and its sulphur and its weird bubbles that kept surfacing. My father tried to force me in, but every fiber of my body was screaming out in fear. Kicking and screaming and clawing to get out. But he’d driven like 9-hours to get us there and by golly, we were going to go in and enjoy ourselves.

The problem was, I couldn’t enjoy it. I was so afraid that my entire body was fighting against it. So, of course, he fought against me. He wanted me in there whether I liked it or not.

Liard

I never did change my mind, or, I could not change my mind. Something about that hot spring made me so uncomfortable I could not go in. And I suffered the consequence.

The thing is, when something is so deeply ingrained in a person, you can’t change it by force. To this day, the memory brings with it regret. No, not for me. But for my father.

For the record, I was never angry at him for trying to force me. He was doing his best. He wanted me to go in there because he was certain I would enjoy it once I did, he didn’t want me to miss out on the experience. He didn’t understand that it wasn’t an experience I wanted to have, and still isn’t. I don’t regret not going in and I probably won’t care if I ever experience the original Liard Hot Spring, I was more than happy with the cleaner, less-stinky one in which I could see the bottom and therefore, whatever was about to eat my feet.

It’s like this “Stingray Experience” we did while on a cruise in the Caribbean. A rather expensive experience, I will add, in which we were taken on a boat to a sandbar in the middle of the ocean where Stingrays come to feed/visit/be pet (Ha! Yeah right. Remind me never, ever to go on an experience like that again. Thanks carnival cruise lines for exposing me and my family to wild Stingrays that could, if they wanted to, kill you, and their completely unqualified handlers/feeders). It’s one of those once in a lifetime experiences for some people where you get in the water, which in our case, was really rough due to wind and waves, really crowded, and up to your chest and quite willing to sweep you off into the ocean. My years of synchronized swimming came in very handy here to keep my head above the water, and even then, I was a little nervous. So, you could imagine what the many children felt when they were tossed into the water with the other tourists and wild stingrays…did I mention wild stingrays? And unqualified handlers? Just making sure…)

My children got in, even though they were scared, but my youngest took quite a while to work up the courage. Quite a while in which I was very content to stay on the boat with him, and then happy to let him remain on my shoulders in the water until he felt comfortable enough to get in. Because it was scary. And stressful. And I was an adult so I can imagine it was twice as bad for a kid.

Like the kid who was screaming his head off, gripping the handrails of the boat with every muscle he had, as his parents yelled at him and physically forced him off the handrail and into the ocean, because they paid for this experience and weren’t about to lose their $100 by letting their kid be a spectator. He was going to pet a goddamn stingray whether he liked it or not!

He didn’t. No, he didn’t like it at all.

I’m not saying this to show how we’re perfect parents, although, my past experience of being physically forced kicking and screaming into a body of water I did not want to go into definitely allowed me to sit back and wait for my children to feel comfortable before taking them in, or if they weren’t, let them watch from the boat.

But in a different situation that didn’t involve wild Stingrays that could easily get agitated where their unqualified handler would have to take them aside and feed them so they don’t kill the tourists? Well, then I’m not so evolved. There you would have found me dragging, yes, dragging, my son while he dug his heels into every inch of the Splash Mountain line up because once he just got on the goddamn ride he would have fun. He was going to get into that log whether he liked it or not!

He didn’t. At all. He cried all through Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah and forever brings the experience up, especially when meeting new people.

Are you seeing where I’m going with this? Forcing something to accept your beliefs whether they like it or not is not going to make them like it. In fact, it’s only going to make them dig their heels in and scream a little louder.

Something I wanted to do at the parade. It was probably a good thing I didn’t have any candy or rocks or grenades with me because I just might have thrown it at them, whether they liked it or not.

BECAUSE NO ONE LIKES BEING FORCED TO DO OR ACCEPT ANYTHING AGAINST THEIR WILL!

Are you hearing me?

NO ONE WANTS YOU TO SHOVE YOUR JESUS DOWN THEIR THROATS because if they aren’t interested, they aren’t interested, WHETHER YOU LIKE IT OR NOT!

But my horoscope said not to shove my agenda down others throats. It said to compromise. So I did. I waited an extra day or two to cool off and then I thought long and hard about acceptance.

I wasn’t going to write a blog post with stories detailing how we should be a little more accepting of other people’s views. Two days ago, before reading that horoscope, I would have written a blog post bashing the close-minded Christians who think they have a god-given right to shove their beliefs down everyone’s throats, despite our asking for it. But that would make me just as close-minded as them, wouldn’t it? And that would also be lumping most Christians into a group of maybe just a handful who painted a really ignorant sign onto a float. A handful of people who were probably just that, ignorant to how their actions would affect others. Because they are probably totally ecstatic that Jesus loves them. They are probably so bathed in his light and glory that they couldn’t possibly understand why someone else wouldn’t want to bask in that beautiful, glorious love.

Just like I love Splash Mountain. It’s happy, it’s fun, and I was so sure my son was going to love it.

But he didn’t.

And that’s the thing. Just because we think something is fun and wonderful and life saving (or I guess in their case, afterlife saving) doesn’t mean it will have the same affect on everyone. And we need to respect that. We need to respect the fact that not everyone will share our beliefs and that’s okay. When we go and say this is how things are, we’re right, you’re wrong, whether you like it or not, we need to take a step back and ask ourselves, why is it so important that they be like me? Why can I not allow them to have their own opinion? Who said my beliefs are right and theirs are wrong?

Jesus preached tolerance and acceptance. In fact, he was the first person to actually see everyone, and I mean everyone, as people deserving of love. But Jesus would never, ever force his will on anyone whether they liked it or not. So perhaps, those who believe in him so much that they feel the need to paint signs that essentially disrespect the beliefs of others, should follow his example.

Maybe you disagree with me? Maybe you were on that float? Or maybe you completely agree with them…or maybe, you have also drug your kid on a ride they did not want to go on. Please, share this post or comment below.

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