Part of what makes us all beautiful as human beings are our differences. We are raised with different values, in different faiths and cultures. It is a wonderful thing to bond with people with similar values but it’s also a wonderful thing to meet new people who are different from us. People who speak differently, eat different food, wear different clothes, and belong to a different faith.
When we meet people who are not like us, it gives us a chance to learn about one another, embrace our differences, and immerse ourselves in the beauty of individuality.
There will always be other people who don’t see the world as we do.
People who don’t believe what we believe will always exist and it’s natural to want to share our own perspectives and values with them. But there is a big difference between sharing your beliefs and trying to force those values onto someone.
Unfortunately, even with resistance standing in the middle, some people don’t let that stop them from forcing their beliefs onto others.
They’ll continue to push, hoping that eventually, they’ll break through and convince someone else to see things from their perspective. Instead of respecting the wishes of others, some people like to push their beliefs and conversation even harder onto others, causing an even stronger opposition. This is the wrong approach and it can never be fruitful.
If someone doesn’t want to hear what we have to say, we should respect their wishes.
It’s a message I wish I could magically imprint into the minds of the aggressive religious folk who stand outside of the abortion clinics. It’s a message I wish my extremely religious parents would understand too.
The Catholic church was the most prominent influence in my childhood. I was an altar server, a singer in the church choir, a teacher’s aide in my parents’ catechism classes, and a frequent visitor of the nun’s monastery, to name a few. But as I grew up, I questioned the reasons behind certain practices and beliefs and my parents responded with punishment. They never gave a complete answer and they never welcomed a discussion. Things were the way they were, and that was final.
I stopped attending church services when I was 17-years-old.
I never knew religion to be a place of peace and as an adult, it didn’t feel right to continue practicing a faith that confused and shamed me. I think practicing religion can serve a great purpose in a family, but not when parents are using it as a replacement for establishing an actual relationship with their children. I was better off stepping away from the place that made me feel trapped.
I’ve written many times about my rocky relationship with my parents and their use of excessive religion as a substitute for parenting. Writing is what has helped me come to terms with the fact that my parents will never accept me. Even though my parents aggressively forced Catholicism onto me for years, I love them deeply. But it’s been difficult to maintain a healthy relationship with them because when I share my successes, I’m told these good things happen because of God, not because of my hard work or dedication.
My parents know of my opposition to the church; it’s how I’ve been for years.
Yet, they continue to try to “knock sense into me” because to them, “I’ve lost my way and my salvation”. I only wish they could see the more they force it, the further I run in the opposite direction. I used to explain that the pushing and forcing is part of the reason why I distanced myself from Catholicism in the first place, but I stopped trying to make my point.
There is nothing wrong with having a conversation about something you are passionate about or leading a discussion about your faith. But the moment someone says they are not interested in hearing more, it should be out of respect that you don’t take it any further and try to force your beliefs onto them.
© Jessica Lovejoy 2019. All Rights Reserved.