I don’t like being wrong. I don’t think this is due to pride, but simply out of a desire to believe and profess what is truth. The last few years I have been seeking out the truth. I like hearing other people’s point of view and opinions. I’ve often been a viewer of CNN, and many of my conservative friends wonder why I watch it instead of Fox News. I tell them that by watching CNN I get to understand why people on the other side think the way they do about things. Politically, I would say that I am more of a moderate than conservative or liberal, but when in doubt, I tend to lean more conservatively. But rather than close my mind and refuse to hear out the views of others, I choose to hear them out and see if either they’re right or I’m right by doing so.
Here’s an example of when I’ve done this. I used to be in support of the death penalty for people who had committed severe crimes. I was pretty adamant in this belief. But a friend of mine made me question this belief. We had always shared the belief that abortion was wrong. He wrote an article about that a year or two ago, describing his pro-life beliefs. Within that article, he explained that his pro-life position went beyond that of the preborn, explaining that life was precious regardless of the situation or circumstances surrounding that life. The more I thought about what he’d written, the more I was convinced he was right. I am now against the death penalty as adamantly as I used to be for it. I just don’t believe that anyone should ever take another life like that. No person should ever take another person’s life into their hands as such. And the fact that there have been so many wrongful convictions in the past is just another reason for me to believe this.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I think a policeman shooting a man getting ready to stab or shoot someone himself is doing a good and just thing to prevent that man from doing considerable harm to another. Protecting others or self in such a way is more than justifiable.
But the point is that listening to others can sometimes bring you to a better understanding of the world around you. You can see where either you have been potentially mistaken or correct about a certain thing. I’ve found that in many instances, I have been wrong about a great many things in my life. But in debating, discussing, or just simply listening to others, I have found myself also proven correct in my thinking.
The last couple of years, I have found myself doubting many of my beliefs. The reason for this, I think, is because of my openness to consider the viewpoints of others. I’ve listened to so many different viewpoints that somewhere along the way I’ve become confused and frustrated about what to believe. But on top of that, I know I have been dissuaded, disappointed, and turned off to many people in my life who had shared a lot of the same beliefs as me. It’s hard to believe in the same things as a preacher, fellow churchgoers, coworkers, parents, and others who have neglected, abused, or belittled you, or faltered somewhere along the way themselves. It’s hard to believe anything they say is true. And when you want to get away from them, you also want to get away and reject anything that reminds you of them.
As I said in my last post, I have increasingly felt a desire to distance myself from all things Christianity. I’ve been trying to figure out why the past few weeks, and why this has intensified dramatically since I’ve begun going to church again. I think this is the reason. Being in church I’m reminded of all the past hurts, I sit next to parents who have refused to help me or guide me in life, amongst other Christians who have never attempted to befriend me or get to know me, or who I’ve seen commits wrongs to others, and all of this combined has just made me want to reject the message they proclaim. I realized this on Sunday during the church service. I was angry at my parents for a few things and just wanted to get up and leave the church and never come back—to get away from them.
I think forgiving others is something much more difficult for me to do than I previously thought. I need to work on that. I think also, my faith, in a lot of ways, must have been strengthened in the past considerably more from others than I’d realized. And when those others let me down, my faith was weakened or brought down as well. God alone should be my strength and my main concern. That sounds good, and should probably be true. But all Christians are not in and of themselves. We all belong to a greater body. When that body is damaged, we are all affected. I need that strength that only the body can give me. I know, too, though, that I do need to rely more upon Christ than what I have been. And, sometimes, I think I need to listen a little less to others.