If you’re in North America, you will have seen the popular “Coexist” bumper sticker. I don’t like it.
Why? Coexist means to tolerate. And tolerate means to barely get along with.
I would propose a better sticker: “Love.” I think it’s much better to aspire to loving those who believe differently than we do – rather than simply living with them on the same street.
What would it take to love people different than us? That’s your homework. It may take a few days to figure out.
Credit goes to a Polish graphic designer, Piotr Mlodozeniec, who designed the first coexist image.
10 Replies to “Love instead”
Aw, you mean I have to love crazy right-wing birthers? Actually, one of those lives right across the street from me, and we’re friendly neighbors, but we’ve gotten careful not to discuss anything political. We certainly “coexist,” but love is asking a lot. Maybe on Valentine’s Day…
After 9/11 and the hatred that was being spewed everywhere in the name of patriotism, I wrote something about how powerful it might be to forgive Osama Bin Laden in the name of love. I had to be careful to whom I sent it because that concept was obviously hard to grasp at the time. Unconditional love is the ONLY way you can “change” someone. But that takes the personal investment of getting to really know another person so you see beyond the stereotype suggested in the “Coexist” logo. Not many of us will do that, right?
As for the homework, my answer is to try to “see the Jesus” in everyone!
Love means sacrifice. As Jesus said, it’s easy and warm and fuzzy (not his precise words) to love those who love you back.
Much harder to love the bad guys (translation: those who see it differently).
Great points, Bill, Chris & Rich.
You all hit at the destination of this post – it’s really hard to figure out how to love those who are different than us.
It really isn’t that hard to love people different than us. Take it from a Korean who was raised in a Caucasian family. I have never met a blood relative and don’t share the same beliefs as my family members, but we still love each other more than anything. (Or at least I love them…)
This comes at a perfect time and is a good reminder. I do not like the idea of “tolerating” others either. Thanks, Paul.
Thanks James & Barbara!
I can’t grasp the concept sorry Paul. I tolerate people all the time (I am sure some tolerate me too). I can’t find it in my soul to feel compassion or warmth or love for all. I don’t wish any harm to any living thing but I certainly don’t feel love for all either. The world is a horrible despicable place & those that make it that way won’t be getting any love from me. I appreciate how harsh & heartless my comments are but thought I would respond honestly.
Sharron – I was pointing toward an ideal, rather than saying where I am. I DEFINITELY have a hard time loving some people! But I’m trying to grow in this area.
That’s why Jesus is so remarkable. For the sake of love and reconciliation, he died for his enemies.
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