I love the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day. It’s like the world universally agrees to slow down. Traffic is light. Many people take vacation from work. Naps are added to daily routines. And, we can all take a deep breath.
I’m doing just that and taking the week off! But, I thought I’d leave you with some of the most popular posts of the year in each Intention category.
This Relationships intention (originally found here) is one of the hardest to live out. But, I’m so grateful many of you have joined me in trying.
Some days I really struggle with the virtual community of the Internet. I love the access I have to thought provoking content via online news sources, blogs, email groups, Facebook, Twitter and the like. But, sometimes, the nature of comments and replies made to said content really bothers me.
The Not-So-Great Debate
When a news article or opinion post generates debate (and it seems almost everything is debatable these days), it is inevitable that the replies and comments evolve into a nasty game of who can issue the most clever insult upon those of the opposing view. And what ensues stops being purposeful and transitions into plain old mudslinging (that does very little to win over any converts in my opinion).
While this is potentially more visible online, as people are more likely to type out a snarky reply than speak one directly to someone’s face, we all regularly interact with people of opposing views and opinions to our own. In both the virtual and real worlds, a lot of harm can follow the thought “I am right and you are wrong.”
A Truth Void
So, if I want to spread love and peace, should I simply ban that thought from my mind? Is it wrong to have passions and convictions? I’ve heard people say, “I don’t believe in one truth. Everyone has their own truth.” Is there some way to abandon a sense of right and wrong in an effort to accept everyone’s opinions as equally right?
I don’t think so. What would that even look like? Every choice we make is based on a particular belief at the exclusion of another. Our thoughts, actions and choices are dictated by our beliefs.
In fact, I think a lack of clarity about right and wrong is paralyzing. There have been times in my life where I couldn’t muster conviction for any of the choices in front of me. Those were seasons void of progress, peace and joy.
The Real Culprit
When I look closely at the times I’ve been cruel to those of an opposing view (for me, they are usually my family members and not strangers – sorry loves), there is something deeper that is at play. It is a very dangerous, violent, untrue thought that is the heart of the problem. That thought is “I am right and you are wrong. Therefore, I am better than you.”
This false sense of superiority is the foundation for so much cruelty. It gives us license to attack those who we deem “less than.” But, a person’s worth and value is not determined by their opinions or their choices. We are all equally deserving of and in need of grace and love.
A Grace Revolution
I want to be a bigger vessel for grace. I want to remember that I myself have done many things I said I would never do, because of a change in my beliefs. I want to remember that I have knowingly acted in direct opposition to my convictions. I want to remember my own need for grace, and respond to that awareness by giving it freely and enthusiastically to others. I want to remember, I am better than no one.
Join me, won’t you? Let’s start a grace revolution. Let’s disagree. Let’s debate. Let’s discuss. Let’s have passion and conviction for our beliefs. But, please, please – let’s not belittle. Let’s not call names. Let’s not sling mud. Let’s not devalue the person. Let’s choose grace!
Before you post a comment online, before you utter a harsh reply to a loved one, take a deep breath and choose grace. May our thoughts, words and actions always reflect the truth that I am better than no one!
Update: I really appreciate the thought-provoking questions people asked in both comments and emails to me. They each challenged me to think about the practical application of my call for grace.
My brain and my heart were particularly racked when I was asked, to weigh-in on if and how we should show grace to terrorists and other evil-doers. Read my response here.