It may have been 2 am, but I was captivated by Nelson Mandela’s memorial service. I found the live stream on the internet and saw the various people attending. Black and white. Rich and Poor. The most powerful people in the world and the most forgotten. The images of those that were once enemies because of the color of their skin sitting and cheering together.
So many powerful images. It was pouring rain in the stadium, yet everyone was celebrating what they had in common that day. Even the sign language guy was having a good time =) There was dancing in the aisles. Crowds that were singing “Let it Rain” at the top of their lungs, world leaders taking selfies, and Kirk Franklin doing what he does.
Mandela was a far from a perfect human being. In fact, he said some terrible things about George Bush, yet President Bush was still there to celebrate his life. He even said some bad things about President Clinton, yet he still showed up. Our president shook hands with one America’s greatest enemies. They don’t agree on anything, but for a moment they were both there to celebrate Madiba.
Today, the internet exploded again. It seems to do that a lot these days. My mind went back to those images of those who were at war with each other just years ago, standing together. This time last year we were all up in arms over Chicken. Now, it’s ducks. Maybe we have an issue with birds as a nation.
I am not going to even begin to talk about my views on homosexuality, Dan Cathy’s, or Phil Robertson’s, because honestly that doesn’t matter. God has already spoken on the subject. I know this: God loves sinners. I am pretty good one. You probably are too. Our sins are no different than theirs.
Just because we don’t agree doesn’t mean we have to hate each other, yet the media is screaming that we should. I was watching an interview where someone speaking on behalf of GLAAD said, “America’s views have changed, even Louisiana’s views have, and Mr. Robertson just needs get in line with our views.” No he doesn’t. He doesn’t have to agree with you. Its called freedom. Mr. Mandela fought for it. Men and women have died for it.
Freedom says we all may not agree, but that is ok. What amazed me more than anything is that in the stadium the same people who stood by as Mandela was imprisoned, and even those who fought to keep him there were there to celebrate the life he lived bringing justice and freedom to a Nation, and honestly an entire continent.
Here is the issue, the dictionary defines tolerance as, “the ability or willingness to tolerate something, in particular the existence of opinions or behavior that one does not necessarily agree with.” For some reason the media is not ok with that. Someone has changed the meaning of tolerance and defined it now as, “You have to agree with me. If you don’t, you are a hateful bigot.” I am not sure who it was, but they were very wrong.
One of Mandela’s most famous quotes was, “It always seems impossible until it’s done.” Right now it seems impossible that we can all be ok with not agreeing with everyone. We don’t have to agree. But let’s try a little harder to get along. Let’s be ok with someone not sharing the same opinion. I hope we can at least agree on that. We don’t all have to go hang out and have coffee together, but honestly if we did that may solve everything!
That would sure make me Happy, Happy, Happy!