Tuesday, June 9, 2020

What I think about right and wrong in 2020

Photo description: Kirstie in hiking gear in the woods
staring at the ground in deep thought.
I am much better at writing than expressing myself verbally. Sometimes it feels literally painful in my brain to have to talk to people about something complicated or important... like my words aren't coming out right, and I am doing a horrible and inadequate job explaining myself. I understand that for many people it is the exact opposite. You'd far rather talk than write about something.

Part of this comes from a deep insecurity and fear of displeasing others. I want to craft my words precisely so you don't misunderstand me and think I've said something awful. Being able to look back over my words gives me a greater opportunity to "not offend anyone." I HATE offending people. I just do. I have a thin skin, and an extremely empathetic personality that wants everyone to feel loved and comfortable and accepted, and feels pain when they don't. Okay, I've grown up enough to have a bit thicker skin than I used to, thank goodness. And I have a much greater ability to sit with the discomfort of other people being uncomfortable, upset, offended, and angry. But if we dive down deep into my inner honest core, I want to be accepted by you, whoever you are, and I want you to imagine that I think like you so that you'll like me and be comfortable with me. I don't want you to know about the parts of me that disagree with you. I want to hide them handily so all can be well. But I know in my inner core that that isn't right either. I want to be a woman of honesty and integrity. And hiding what I really think so you'll like me is definitely not what honesty looks like. Ah, my great struggle.

Here's another problem. So much of what "I really think" is in a state of flux. I have on one hand, a solid foundation that won't be shaken about many things that are right and wrong. I have extremely firm, unshakable beliefs about God's character. I have Jesus walking beside me sharing His great love with me at all times, thank God! But you know what? Beyond a very few black and whites, the world is a million shades of grey. New information, points of view, and ideas are breaking like a tidal wave over us all day. And they are all calling vehemently for you and I to take a stand. Join us! Think like us! It's obvious what is right and wrong here! This is what should be done! Show your loyalty to our ideas and opinions or be thrown out into the dark, canceled, castigated, exiled! Don't be on the wrong side of history! If you don't agree with me, unfriend me right now because you are a --- (insert appropriate expletive). You can't be silent! If you are, than you are clearly on the other side! If this situation isn't a nasty hell-hole for someone who struggles with anxiety and people-pleasing, I don't know what is.

I can't pledge my loyalty to any of the "sides" that are out there. I have already pledged my loyalty to Jesus alone. And I have found that walking this narrow path of following Him through the storm of competing ideas doesn't allow for agreeing with anyone about everything. He just doesn't seem to go for "group-think." I get to thinking one way about something, and then another article comes along that totally upends that idea. A good example is this opinion printed in The Guardian yesterday. If you have any "sides" about the major issues happening in 2020, this may leave you uncomfortable, angry, frustrated, and banging your head on the table. That's what happened to me, anyway.

So what to do? Obviously, there are going to be times when taking a stand is necessary and right, and an essential act of obeying God. But even then, the waters are murky. Every single stand starts with a clear idea of right and wrong, but then things get complicated. I can say with great conviction: racism is wrong. Police brutality is wrong. Enslaving and abusing others is wrong. Not caring whether you infect others with coronavirus is wrong. Destroying the environment is wrong. The death of a pre-born baby, delivered baby, child, adult, or any other kind of human for any reason is always a tragedy and there are very few cases in which killing another human can be called "the right thing to do," and these cases are still, even more so, tragic and horrific. Turning people away from healthcare that can't afford to pay for it it is wrong. I could go on and on. I have a lot of firm right and wrong beliefs, but when it comes down to solutions and action... that's where it gets sticky and I start feeling like I am being turned upside down, shaken, and, hardest of all for Kirstie-people-pleaser, judged for not planting my flag and staying there come hell or high water.

I want to participate in making our nation and world a better place for everyone. I want to take action and see right win the day and evil trampled into the dust of history. Maybe the only way I can do it, with honesty and integrity, is to always wear a t-shirt that says "Disclaimer: I don't agree with you about everything, but I'm trying to do what is right, and my thoughts, ideas and actions will always be liable to review upon acquisition of new information and discussion on the matter with Jesus."

Thanks for listening. I'd love to hear your thoughts. I suspect a lot of people find themselves in the same mental boat. I feel better already having written this, that you may know me and what I think more clearly, and I, through writing, know myself better too.

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