Love trumps hate. Kindness wins. These may sound like trendy catch-phrases that gained popularity during the election, but a woman named Natalie Woods from Denton, Texas proved them to be true in more ways than one this past week.
According to the Huffington Post, Woods was dining at Snuffer’s Restaurant and Bar when she overheard a family nearby expressing their disgust that their “liberal” nephew had come out as gay. Upon hearing them say they were going to pray for Jesus to “cure” him, she felt compelled to respond — with kindness.
She could have reacted with hate and anger, as she herself is gay and was offended by their comments. She could have confronted them with hostility, interrupted their meal, and lectured them on her views on Christianity and its place in the LGBTQ community.
But she didn’t.
Instead, Natalie Woods quietly paid for this family’s meal. And she wrote a note on the receipt that read, “Happy holidays from the very gay, very liberal table sitting next to you. Jesus made me this way.”
Woods then added, “P.S. Be accepting of your family.”
She later shared a snapshot of the receipt on Facebook as a reminder to be kind in these times of turmoil. Because, like the Christian family at the next table over, Natalie also believes in the teachings of Jesus. However, she also believes that Jesus loved and accepted everyone. And that he wanted us to be kind and forgive.
It’s no secret that our nation is more divided than ever right now, particularly on issues related to the LGBTQ community. When the Supreme Court declared gay marriage to be legally protected by the constitution last year, the gay community rejoiced. But a large percentage of Americans did not. And now that we’ve elected a vice-president who believes in conversion therapy, which attempts to force heterosexuality (and do exactly what this family was praying for), the LGBTQ community feels its rights may be in jeopardy.
However, despite the insult Natalie Woods felt in over-hearing this homophobic rhetoric, she responded with generosity. She knew that these weren’t inherently bad people. They truly wanted what they believed was best for their nephew, a person they loved. And that’s precisely why her response was so fitting and admirable. Reacting with negativity would likely have done no good. She knew that the best path was to reach into this family’s hearts and help them see that Christianity can be interpreted differently. And that loving and accepting one’s family is of the utmost importance.
Americans are at war with each other right now, and it’s painful no matter what side you’re on. Trump voters vs. Clinton voters. Liberals vs. Conservatives. Those who support gay rights vs. those who are against. Pro-Life vs. Pro-Choice. Black Lives Matter vs. Blue Lives Matter. And we are all just standing on our own ground, screaming at our neighbors. But the truth is, marching in the streets and shouting from the top of our lungs will do no good if we don’t try to understand each other and cross the bridge to the other side.
We need to understand why there seems to be more anger and distrust than ever. How did we get here? How do we get better?
We can start by following Natalie’s example and showing what kindness looks like; what community looks like. By accepting one another, we will realize that we really can co-exist and share this land. All races and religions and ethnicities. Homosexuals and heterosexuals and bisexuals and those who are transgender all have a place here in our country and have value. Everyone has a voice, and hopefully we will soon stop shouting and start listening.
This is what “love trumps hate” means. This is how kindness wins.