I recently was called out for associating with someone who some feel is not a good person.
In fact, quite a few people.
I was caught totally by surprise. Not because I wasn’t aware of their concerns, which I wasn’t, but by the incessant nature of those trying to save me.
Some were kind and respectful in their approach, truly concerned that my name and the Red Edge brand not be tarnished by association.
Others were more insistent, telling me to immediately withdraw my public connection with this person. Some even demanded I do so.
Calls and messages poured in.
My social media posts were hijacked, mostly by people who I didn’t even know, in an attempt to use me to air their personal grievances.
One person even demanded I also call out this person for their perceived wrongs. Then went so far as to allege I was “part of the problem” if I didn’t jump on the witchhunt and publically cast my own stones of shame.
Some even solicited others to lobby me to delete my public conversations with the individual.
All of this because I had a public conversation on social media with a person some people do not like.
I felt like I was in the middle of a full-fledged intervention.
I’m concerned we collectively shame people way too easy.
We accept as fact anything we see trolling our social media. We are too quick to judge and ridicule. We shout at, scorn, and scoff those we disagree with. We criticize those who don’t think exactly like we do.
Decorum and civility are severely lacking.
I am not saying there is not a place for passionate arguments and persuasive conversations. Nor am I saying we should not strive to protect ourselves, and protect those we care for.
I realize in the specific situation at the moment there are those who have concerns that are very important to them. However, hijacking my posts, my conversations, my story, is not the place for those concerns to be aired.
I have no problem with people airing their concerns. I celebrate our collective freedom of speech and intimately understand the incredibly high priced paid to protect it. They can shout from the rooftops if they wish.
I applaud them for their passion.
I don’t applaud those who had no respect for me in their approach. I don’t applaud those who attempted to shame me by their crude approach to persuasion. I don’t applaud those who simply jumped on the shame bandwagon being pulled along by others.
I do applaud the few, the very few, who were respectful in their approach. Their voice, the voice of these few, was much more persuasive than the energetic diatribes of the majority.
I hope my conversations were also respectful, even with those who were not respectful in return.
RESPECT CREATES RESPECT
This is a sacred area for me.
We make a greater impact by seeing and speaking of all that is good than by seeing and speaking of the little that is not good.
We can change the world around us in a persuasive and compelling way by speaking, writing, and simply being respectful.
We can inspire.
We can influence.
We can encourage.
Perhaps there is a lesson to be learned here.
Here’s the deal my friends…
I refuse to participate in the bandwagon of name shaming another person.
I don’t care who the person is. I don’t care what he or she may have done or may not have done. I will not call them out. I will not shame them.
On the contrary, I will sup with them. I will walk the hard mile with them. I will meet them wherever they may be. I will enter into the prison gates and the homeless shelter to sit with them. I will attend their churches, political rallies, and AA meetings.
Black, white, gay, straight, conservative, liberal, religious, atheist, in prison, guilty, addict, depressed, broken, downtrodden, or any other of the million labels, I will stand by their side.
No matter how the world sees them, or how they see themselves, I will stand by their side.
No matter how the world sees you, or how you see yourself, I will also stand by your side.
YOUR NAME IS SAFE WITH ME
On that note…
Your name will always be 100% safe with me.
I will never gossip.
I will never talk trash.
I will never pass on a rumor.
If I have a concern with you I feel is strong enough to address, I will go straight to you. I will not talk trash behind your back. I will not whisper in the hallways of social media.
I may disagree with you, maybe even passionately disagree with you, but I will strive to be professional and respectful in my disagreement and seek to understand your viewpoint.
I may not like what you have done. I may even think it is morally or legally wrong. But I will not stand on a stump and call you out. I will not shame who you are by what you believe or even by what you do.
If I feel strongly enough then I will stand up and share my viewpoints. I may at times be passionate in expressing those viewpoints. In my passionate expressions, I will strive to be respectful of your passionate expressions.
It’s that simple.
No Ifs, Ands, or Buts.
Have a great Monday. Thanks for letting me share.
p.s. Take 13 minutes today to focus on seeing the good in others.
Prison Photo by Emiliano Bar on Unsplash
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