John Alan Turner

Speaker, Author, Mentor, Coach, Facilitator

Why Is It So Hard?

Now back to my politically-inclined friend's email: For me as a follower of Christ, my agenda is peace and concern for the poor. That means the issue is first and foremost ending the horror of unnecessary war. No one talks about the 100,000 Iraqi civilians that are dead because of our war nor the 2,000,000 Iraqi refugees (and the tiny fraction of that number we have taken in in the US). We have allowed that to happen. I am incredulous that we just stood by and allowed and even facilitated the extermination of civilians in Iraq.

I share your view in that I am anti-abortion, but I am also anti-criminalization of abortion. Abortion should be legal, safe and very, very rare. If people did not live in poverty and had good health care, abortion would be much less of an issue. I have had the opportunity to talk to pregnant women and help them decide to keep the baby and have never personally had to go through the abortion process with anyone close to me, but I see that job as a function of the family and the community and, if applicable, the church – not the government criminalizing the wrenching decisions made by a family. This is an area where I agree the government should stay out of regulating the very personal, private and complex decisions families, communities and churches should be helping to make.

He went on even more about pro-life causes and John McCain. And he ended like this:

But, like you, if McCain ends up as President, I will work to encourage him to be concerned for the poor and the people for whom the American Dream has become a nightmare. His status as a nominally Christian candidate is okay by me and, hopefully, he will distance himself from the agents of intolerance once he actually is elected…James Dobson notwithstanding.

Thanks for a civil discourse. It was very refreshing.

Was that so hard? I mean, he was wordy and could have used a good, heavy-handed editor. But, other than that, is it so hard for us to be civil to one another? This gentleman and I managed to do it.

No, it was not.

But, yes, it was.

The hardest part was reading his email to me the way I want him to read my email to him – giving the benefit of the doubt, assuming the best, hoping the best, answering him in love without compromising my beliefs.

Actually, no, that wasn’t the hardest part. The hardest part was wrestling down my desire to be right, my desire to be superior to my friend, to instruct him and show him the error of his ways, to sacrifice winning my friend to my side for the sake of maintaining my relationship and my integrity.

That is, I believe, what makes it so hard.