It Starts Here: Love People--All of 'Em

Posted Saturday, March 05, 2011

Here's a picture of my family. I'm the little guy on the lower right. People who know me only now have a hard time believing it--but I was an outcast as a kid. This was back when the term "geek" had nothing to do with computers.

I was the awkward kid that didn’t quite fit in. I was a full year younger than some of my classmates so I was socially inept. Also, I was so skinny, pale, and my hair was so white that I was constantly teased with names like albino boy, chlorox kid, Whitey Herzog, and many more less savory names.

One of my favorite stories is one of revenge against a cruel classmate. It happened while I was working the drive-through at Wendy’s. At this point, I am a model 16-year old employee with a reputation for sharing the gospel with my co-workers while being an amazing cash-register operator. :-) Up pulls a convertible with a young high school couple and wouldn’t you know it—one of, if not THE WORST, tormentor of my middle school years is driving. My heart starts racing and I want nothing more than to poison his food with exlax or find some maggots—but I don’t have the time to do anything but hand over the completed order and say as loud as possible “Here you go—ASSHOLE”

He was pissed.

He pulled into a parking spot, ran into the restaurant, and started to climb over the counter to get at me. My manager defended me saying that I would have never said what I actually did say. After he left, she took me in back and asked me what happened—I was like George Washington—I could not tell a lie. I told her that what my tormentor had said was all true—but he deserved it. She had to write me up. It was totally worth it.

My experience as a kid may be why I am absolutely passionate about inclusivity.

They also may be part of the reason why I’ve left the world of “I know the answer” Christianity and find myself firmly planted in the place that says: “I’m not sure what’s going on but loving other people is a great place to start.”

So I am sick and tired of churches that preach that Jesus is the answer yet ignore his most basic teachings: Love God, Love People. Here’s a newsflash for you: It’s not loving to judge others. Period.

I am sick and tired of organizations that believe status is gained by exclusivity. Keep your made-up status. My value comes internally and shows up externally in the creativity I bring the world—not the money I spent to get in the door.

I am sick and tired of events where the “cool kids” hang out together and don’t bring the new people in. Why go to networking events if you are aren’t focused on new people? I don’t get it.

I am absolutely disgusted by the idiots that still think I’ll agree with them as they babble on about gays, blacks, Jews, Muslims, or anyone else different than them. Grow up. Just because your dad said it doesn’t make it true. Loving people just like you is simple—do something out of the ordinary and spend time actually learning something new about yourself. I know you can do it.

Some dude called me a sheep last week in the midst of his racist tirade. Seriously. Pot. Kettle. Black. It takes a ton more courage to treat people as individuals.

In my old life--my 20 closest friends were all EXACTLY like me. Today, I can't imagine my life without my friends that have all sorts of labels different than my own. My biggest regret is that I wasted so many years looking in the mirror and basically agreeing with myself. Ha!

We need to be SHOWING our world that everyone matters. Talking about it won’t work. Start today by walking across the room and introducing yourself to the most different person in the room. You have no clue what will happen but I’d bet it will end up amazing—one way or another.

Check out our last 6 eNewsletters:

November 4, 2016--Crossing the Continental Divide (Both Literally and Metaphorically)

May 13, 2016-Are You Embracing Your Goo?

April 6, 2016--Micromanagement is Good Management

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