By Dave Schillero
I think its safe to say that everybody wants to be liked by somebody. It is a great feeling to be loved by others. I enjoyed high school and college because I felt like I could walk through the halls and say hello to at least every other person I saw and be met with a smile. This made me feel like part of a community.
It made me feel like people liked me.
The same feeling could be stirred by making my friends laugh, receiving a funny text or being complimented for my work. The truth is, I like being liked by others. God gave us the gift of fellowship and I believe it is something we were made to enjoy. Unfortunately, there are times when we are not liked by everyone.
We live in a world where, inevitably, we will be met by people of different backgrounds and beliefs. Our world is full of different views on religion, politics, economics, race relations, virtue ethics, you name it. With this being the case, I will often find that I disagree with some of the people I meet on a daily basis. If I asked the next five people I see how to get to heaven, who they are voting for in the upcoming election or what they think about the current pope, I will likely get different answers from at least a few of them.
Sometimes these differences in opinion are minuscule and easily brushed to the side, but sometimes they stir anger, resentment and confusion.
It doesn’t feel good knowing that someone disagrees with me, but it will happen. It doesn’t feel good telling somebody I believe in something contrary to what they do, but it will happen. There will come times when the people around me will dislike me for what I stand for or believe in.
So what do I do? Do I keep my opinions and beliefs to myself so that I do not stir up controversy?
Do I harden myself, not giving a care in the world what anybody thinks of me? Do I change my thoughts and beliefs to match those of the people around me? I believe there is an excellent example of how to handle this situation in today’s reading.
In the reading, God gives Amos a pretty difficult task. He must go to the King of Israel and essentially tell him that God is preparing to throw the hammer down on his land. This must have been horrifying for Amos. What would be less popular than announcing to your hometown that God is going to destroy everything and bring down the local government? This likely made Amos look like a revolutionist, traitor or straight up crazy person. It literally could have got him killed.
So what did Amos do?
Did he change his mind, keep his mouth shut or try to change the subject? Actually, he did none of those. Amos was brave and spoke what he knew to be true because God was with him.
Not all of us will have God come to us in a vision to let us know what we should believe in and proclaim, but through prayer, meditation, discussion, wisdom, tradition and reading our Bibles, we are able to take a peak into what God wants out of our lives. With time there will be topics and issues that I support or don’t support.
There will be people who dislike me solely for my views.
It is at this point that I must become brave, trust in God and lovingly speak truth. Jesus was the perfect example of this. He came and proclaimed a Gospel contrary to everything the government stood for. He was mocked, betrayed by his friends and eventually killed. Jesus didn’t change his mind when people started to disagree with him. He didn’t close his ears to the words of others and angrily shove his message down everybody’s throats. Rather, He spoke what He believed in with compassionate love.
This is an intricate and difficult topic to handle
because we are humans and all of us are mistaken in some way with the way that we think. I’ve been the guy who thinks I am right about everything and forgets the importance of seeking wisdom and speaking in love. I’ve also been the guy who was too afraid to speak up during a conversation because I was afraid people may think differently of me because of an unpopular view I had. My challenge for myself and all of God’s people is that we all seek wisdom and discernment with zeal, that we stand up for what we believe to be true and that we do all of this with a humble heart, full of love.
I don’t have to agree with everyone on everything
but it would be awesome if I could be lovingly honest about everything, doing everything I can to pursue Truth and love in my relationships with others.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
My name is Dave Schillero. I suppose there are a few things you should definitely know about me. I grew up in Garfield Heights, Ohio (Southeast Cleveland) with my giant family consisting of three brothers and three sisters. I eat, sleep and breathe Cleveland sports. Most of my time is spent coaching, covering local games for Cleveland’s media outlets or debating with friends about which team will win the week’s big game. There is something transcendent about sports that I have come to appreciate over the years. Sports can shine light on one’s pride or humility, resilience or laziness, love or hate. Sports create a way for people to escape the worries of everyday life and appreciate the gifts God has given us. As an educator, coach and sports reporter I’ve seen the power of sports effect people from all ages and walks of life.
I hope my posts serve as a reflection of what I have learned over the years as a student, athlete, coach and journalist. There is so much joy that God has to offer us in this life. Sometimes, God calls us to run after that joy with everything we have. My reflections are a window into my race towards the God who loves me more than I can imagine.