I was thinking about barriers the other day. I asked myself what may hold different people back from seizing the opportunities presented to them. Surely everyone would want to grab ahold of the blessings laid out before them if only they could see those opportunities. Then I walked into my church and it was as if God had heard my question. In the middle of his sermon, our pastor began to speak of how different people may feel that “church” is not for them. Or how some may feel that they are not worthy of Christ’s blessing. We reviewed several passages from the Bible and discussed the epiphany of Peter where he entered the house of a gentile. I was also guided to Galatians 3:28 where Peter emphatically declares how we are all equal in the eyes of the Lord.
This equality is an interesting challenge for people. We struggle with it at so many levels. It has been a struggle for us throughout history. With royals and surfs, landowners and slaves, men and women, heterosexuals and the LBGTQ community, and perhaps most importantly, individuals and their innermost daemons. It is our internal struggles of inequality where we must first see equality and find love if we are ever to get past this issue. If we as individuals are to embrace Peter’s epiphany with the gentiles and see that we are all equal and grab the opportunities before us then we must all find love inside of ourselves and for ourselves.
My daughter’s school is celebrating LBGTQ awareness this week. She asked me why this community had a day of celebration when other people did not. As she put it, they are just people. I tried to explain to her that unlike other people, they have been discriminated against and as a person who was not a member of that community we should use this day as a reminder to strive for equality in our actions and to remember that we need to both love ourselves and to love those around us. These are difficult concepts for a child to understand. They are often difficult concepts for an adult to understand. But the more we hear, talk and think about these ideas, the more likely they are to become a part of our daily lives.
So, barriers, how does all of this fit in with my thoughts from the other day? I believe that we build these for ourselves. As we see these “inequalities” these discrepancies between ourselves and the world around us, we build barriers. These may be real or fake but often they are self-created. The challenge, or opportunity that we have is to level the playing field, whether for ourselves or for those around us and help to remove those barriers. I understand that this is an old argument. The discussion of equality that has been made for years. But I also believe that there is a point here that a portion of this I saw being etched again into, yet another generation and I see it building in the personal nature of the mindset of people around me. I see it going beyond the systemic cultural inequality that we have developed into personal self-loathing that people develop for themselves. It is this inner struggle that I believe we as individuals must address. This is the struggle that I believe feeds and fosters the larger more systemic issue.