A couple months ago, two writers that I like were engaged in a pretty harsh Twitter war with one another.
Writer A (a female) said something in support of a friend of hers. Writer B (a male)—who was in no way part of the original exchange—then interjected a very rude comment about Writer A’s original statement.
Writer A asked where this hostility was coming from.
Writer B told Writer A to stop being such a martyr.
Writer A told Writer B that she was a big fan of his work.
Writer B expressed condescending curiosity over whether or not Writer A could properly understand his work.
This went on for hours, and it was really disappointing.
I found myself feeling really bad for Writer A and wanting to take all of my books authored by Writer B to Half-Price Books and sell them for whatever I could get.
Both of these writers, I should say, are Christians. And as I said earlier, I am a fan of them both—or at least I was.
I recently heard blogger Micah J. Murray say in an interview, “How we believe is just as important as what we believe.”
(Apologies to Mr. Murray if I didn’t get the quote just right; it’s a paraphrase)
In Christian circles (as well as in other subcultures where people very strongly believe that they have access to Truth with a capital T) people often say things like, “Hey, I’m just telling the truth,” or “What are you getting so mad about? I’m just being honest,” or “Hey! I’m right. I’m not going to apologize for being right.”
People make excuses for their own rude words and behavior by claiming that they are speaking the Truth.
And I continue to be reminded of Micah J. Murray’s words: How we believe is just as important as what we believe.
There are people who I agree with, but I don’t want to be associated with them. Like Writer B in the story above, they take their opinions and use them to harm people, to make others feel small, to make their point by destroying everybody else. They burn people at the stake, shun them, and make memes to share on Facebook. They spread anger and cynicism and sadness, and they do it all in the name of speaking "the Truth."
Even if I agree with this kind of person on one level, I strongly disagree with them on another.
Conversely, there are people that I disagree with in terms of theology or politics or parenting, but I still would be proud to call them my friends. They are generous and humble towards those who see things differently than they do, and they show love, even when they must agree to disagree.
Some people take their beliefs and sharpen them into weapons.
Some people choose to believe in a way that offers faith, hope, and love to the people around them.
I know that I have the capacity for both of these postures, and I am trying to be the kind of person who believes well.
Because how I believe is just as important as what I believe.