Friday, February 26, 2016

On Gluten, False Stories, and Empathy


The other day, I saw an article that surprised, then saddened me.

Presidential candidate Ted Cruz promised that when he's president, there will be no more gluten-free meals for our armed forces!

WHAT?!  That seems like an extremely strange issue to make a position in a Presidential election.  Even more strange that he was taking a position against providing relief for people who may have food allergies.

The reason?  Providing gluten-free meals, for Mr. Cruz, is nothing more than an exercise in political correctness.  And he will have no part in that.

Mr. Cruz likely has no relationship with anyone in his life that battles gluten sensitivity or Celiac disease, or he would see the daily battle with headaches and other pains and realize this issue goes beyond political correctness. In the absence of those relationships, he has written what he clearly does not understand into a false story of political correctness.

And he's not the only one to do this.  We all do.
We are quick to write stories to simply describe the things we do not understand.

Gluten sensitivity.
Poverty.
Racial Discrimination.
LGBTs.
Divorcees.  Addicts.  Single moms.  Gang members.
Catholics.  Protestants.  Evangelicals.
Republicans.  Democrats.

If we don't really get to know the people walking these paths, it's likely that (like Mr. Cruz) we have already written a story and printed a label.

Politically correct.
Lazy.
Race bating...

And there's really only one way to find out if those labels are wrong: dig deeper.
Get to know someone.  Ask questions.  Listen.  Listen again.  And again.  Pray for empathy, understanding, and Truth.

If we do this, we just might find out that the simple stories we have written about others are far from sufficient to describe the complexities of our human experience.

Hebrews 13:3
Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.