Sometimes I allow myself the opportunity to have hurt feelings. It's so dumb. I shouldn't let myself be offended by some of the dumb things that people do or say.

One of these things (that happens quite often) is generalization of group characteristics. I know that I can be guilty of doing this, too - but I also know that I make a conscious effort to NOT do this to groups of people. What I mean is how the actions of a few extremists taint the world's view of the rest of the group.

I am both a practicing Christian and a registered Republican. To push it even further, I'm also a highly educated, white woman from the South, with blonde hair. By the opinions of some, that means I hate all people that disagree with me, I hope everyone but me goes to hell, I hate poor people, I send death threats to people who don't want to practice my religion, I have no common sense or concept of the world, I can't drive, I've probably depended on men to get me this far in life, etc.

Obviously, this is pure, plain crazypants. I do know and admit that those people exist. And I don't hate them or think that God will/should punish them either. See, that's not what Christianity is. Those "Christians" that believe that clearly haven't understood their Bibles, if they have actually read them. God doesn't hate ANYONE. He doesn't wish anyone to go to hell. They have it all wrong. God loves the sinner (the person...you and me and him and her and...) and hates the sin. It's very much like a parental love, I've heard. You love your child, but you don't always love what they do. By my best guess, these people aren't the Christians they believe they are...but I have no way of knowing that, and I'm not one to judge one's destiny. I guess that, because Christianity isn't about a legalistic following of whatever rules you deem necessary. It's about the condition of the heart. It's about knowing that we all fall short, and knowing there is a solution to that.

I do know that my God is a God of love and of justice. He loves us, and sometimes that love means discipline. I know that my God has never directed me to hate anyone. Neither has my political view. Judging people by their religion or politics, or lack thereof, is no better than judging someone based on their race, nationality, sex, socio-economic status, age, or anything else.

I accept that not everyone agrees with me. I accept and understand that not everyone chooses to worship they way I do, and that's ok. The God I know and love wouldn't ever want me to turn my back on someone just because they were different from me. In fact, those are the people He wants us to love more.

I know that there are wonderful people who don't love the Lord and wonderful people who do. I know that there are terrible people who claim to love the Lord and terrible people who don't. Let's not paint an entire group of people with one paintbrush. Don't let the characteristics of some define all.

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