About 10 years ago, my children purchased tickets for a Broadway musical show in Chicago and gave the tickets to me and my wife Georgette as a gift. They also reserved a hotel room for us to stay in while we were in Chicago. It was the perfect gift because it forced us to get away, spend time together, and see a popular musical production that we would not have otherwise seen. Everything was perfect the night of the show, except for an odd encounter Georgette had with a woman.
During the intermission, both of us went to the restroom and when we returned to our seats, Georgette told me that while she was in the ladies’ restroom, a woman who was in her 60s struck up a conversation with her by asking her if she had ever seen the show and who she was with. Georgette answered her questions and told her that our children had given us tickets to the show.
Georgette then asked the woman where she was from and if it was her first time seeing the show. The woman answered and then proceeded to tell Georgette that she was a lesbian and had come to the show with her wife, and that they had been together as a couple since 1969. She then followed up with a question that took Georgette by surprise: Does it make you feel uncomfortable that someone my age is a lesbian who has been with the same woman for more than 40 years?
By the time the woman asked that question, they had walked out of the restroom and were on their way back to their seats. Georgette ignored her question and as she walked away from the woman to return to her seat, she said, “I hope you enjoy the rest of the show.”
When Georgette told me about the conversation, the only reason I could come up with that a stranger would challenge her was that the woman was trying to throw Georgette off balance in an attempt to get her to react, which would give the woman a reason to try to intimidate and shame her. To me, it was an act of defiance on the woman’s part and an attempt to drag Georgette into a conversation that could quickly become confrontational.
Why else would a woman disclose her sexual behavior and then try to create a conflict with a person she had never met — a person who was obviously at the theater minding her own business and enjoying an evening with her husband?
If you’ve ever met my wife, you know that she is a kindhearted, peace-loving person who does her best to avoid conflict. I’m the opposite of Georgette in the sense that I don’t intentionally try to create conflict, but it’s hard for me to walk away from someone who is causing trouble or wants to mix it up with me.
When Georgette told me about what the woman had said to her, I immediately knew the three questions I would have asked the woman. I would have answered her question with a question of my own. My first question would have been, When did you first realize that you were attracted to other women? It would not have mattered what her answer was because I already knew what my next question was going to be, What religion were you raised in? If the conversation continued, the third question I would have eventually got to would have been, How did your parents react to your behavior?
Since the woman was obviously attempting to put Georgette on the defensive, my approach would have been to immediately turn the conversation around and put her on defense. At any given moment, there is always only one person who is in control of a conversation. In my opinion, the woman gave up her right to control the conversation when she asked a question that was inappropriate and out of line.
By the way, the three questions I would have asked the woman are the same questions that always pop into my mind when someone comes out in public and announces that they are in a sexual relationship with a person who is the same gender as they are. My three questions are legitimate, curiosity-based questions that I believe need to be answered before I can begin to figure out the real reasons why a person is defiantly attempting to force others to approve of their beliefs and behavior.
There is a small percentage of people who have chosen the gay lifestyle who feel as though it is their obligation to force others to accept and support their illicit behavior. The woman could have easily chosen to continue her pleasant conversation with my wife, but because of her defiance and anger toward people who do not have the same personal beliefs that she has, she was determined to do her best to ruin the evening of a woman she believed would be opposed to her behavior.
When I was growing up, most of the time when I went to my mom and told her about something that one of my brothers or sisters had done, her response was always the same: “Mind your own business and just worry about yourself. That’s a full-time job!”
That was her way of making it clear to me that I was being petty and that she was not willing to reward me for attempting to get one of my siblings into trouble. It was a good lesson for her to repeatedly pound into my head. Jesus Christ made the same point in a different way when He said,
Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, “Let me remove that splinter from your eye,” while the wooden beam is in your eye? You hypocrite, remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother’s eye. Matthew 7:3-5.
For those of us who are Christians, we know that our primary goal in life should be to focus on changing ourselves into the person Almighty God intended us to be. We know that God gave each of us a free will to choose whether we are going to work toward becoming like Christ, or whether we are going to succumb to the temptations of the world around us.
Christians believe that every person was created in the image and likeness of God, but because of our fallen human nature, we can easily be corrupted by the sin of pride and one or more of the branches that sprout from and are nourished by the root passions of anger, envy, covetousness, sloth, lust, and gluttony. The challenge for each of us is to never give up on our efforts to become the person God intended for us to be, and to serve Him by executing the plan that He designed for us when we were created. This is not an easy task. It’s a full-time job that can take a lifetime of effort, prayer, and sacrifice to accomplish.
You and I have the ability to reach a state of perfection in God’s eyes that can only be accomplished by using our free will to make the choices that are necessary for us to grow in holiness and virtue.
There is a difference between people who mind their own business and focus on doing God’s will and people who believe that it’s their job to mind the business of everyone around them. There are many people who think that it’s their job to change the world, while they ignore what they should be doing to change themselves.
The problem with most people who think it’s their job to change the world is that they have no other choice but to eliminate the free will of people who do not agree with them.
The end goal of the change-the-world-people is to come up with bullet-proof systems that will indoctrinate our children and grandchildren to think and behave the way they do, while forcing everyone else to conform to their way of thinking. If we refuse to comply with their mandates and their vision of how we should think and behave, they use their power and influence to do whatever they can to shame and intimidate us, cause us economic hardship, deny us access to the goods and services we need, isolate us from our families and the people who are important to us, tax us, fine us, and imprison us.
The change-the-world-people lack the patience and virtues that are required to work on changing one person at a time. They know how difficult it is to persuade others to use their own free will to come around to their way of thinking. In their mind, there is no need for that because they believe that they are superior to others and that it’s their job to impose their will on the masses to force them “to do what’s best for themselves.”
Mother Teresa did not set out to change the world. She set out to become the person God intended for her to become, and while she did that, she focused her efforts on imitating our Lord by reaching out and helping one person at a time. In her mind, her job was not to change the world. It was to change one person at a time by taking care of their spiritual and physical needs.
By imitating Christ and seeking to become like Him, Mother Teresa focused on touching the life of one person at a time. Then she went on to the next person, and then the next person. Before long, she was teaching other women to imitate Christ in the same way, and she taught them how to touch one person at a time. When she died, Mother Teresa’s organization, the Missionaries of Charity, was a worldwide organization that had assisted millions of people with their spiritual and physical needs.
Guess what. By the end of her life, Mother Teresa had changed the world. Not by imposing her will on others, but by inviting others to imitate Christ and by reaching out to the “poorest of the poor” to take care of their spiritual and physical needs.
We are at a dangerous point in America, a point where a minority of evil people who have risen to positions of power and influence are forcing their evil beliefs and behavior on the people of our country. These evil people justify their behavior by claiming that their ways are superior to the ways of all those simple Christians who they portray as being hateful, bigoted, racist, homophobic, and ignorant. To them, Christians need to be crushed so they can move forward without opposition to create a world that is modeled after their own evil image and likeness.
The woman who approached my wife and attempted to focus their conversation on her own deviant sexual proclivities was a microcosm of the type of people I’m referring to. What she does in her own life and bedroom is nobody’s business, but she was determined to challenge anyone — even a stranger — who may not share her beliefs or approve of her behavior.
I do not have any personal animosity toward people who have chosen a gay lifestyle for themselves. What they do is their business and should be kept to themselves and their partners. What I object to is when they publicly proclaim and broadcast that their behavior is loving and virtuous and that the people who do not share their beliefs must learn to support them and their efforts to force others to approve, support, and endorse their sinful way of life.
More on this topic next week.