Holding those with opposing views to a higher standard than we hold ourselves

I’ve been reflecting on humility and meekness as Christian virtues, and how Jesus said that “the meek will inherit the earth (Matthew 5:5).”

See here’s the thing with liberals and conservatives on social media: both sides are saturated in self-righteous pride. Each side believes they have the enlightened truth (liberals are “woke”, conservatives are “wise”) and that the other side is bigoted and stupid. Liberals view themselves as gloriously open-minded and conservatives view themselves as gloriously high-minded.

Yet liberals aren’t open-minded toward any conservative views and conservatives don’t acknowledge that a liberal’s moral code is as strong as theirs. Each views the other side as morally bankrupt.

It’s all a matter of perspective though, for we’re all the same, we really are. Human nature is human nature. With the exception of pride (which seems to be distributed quite evenly on both sides), our sins are collective and unique (yet only unique in the sense of individual). All the same wrongdoings are committed across the board, no matter how disguised they may seem at first glance. We are mirror images, photos and negatives, heads and tails.

Which brings me to my next observation: the difficulty of having a close relationship with friends and family members on opposing sides of the political (and religious) spectrum. There’s a sadness here, especially when it comes to the parent-adult child relationship.

If one’s chiselling of views didn’t come about until adulthood, what tends to be experienced is that a once seemingly close relationship quickly grows distant – there is a disconnect, a divide, a wall. To the adult child this feels like conditional love (“my parent will only truly love and accept me again if I embrace all the same views they have”), and there is resentment and a feeling of disillusionment. But I would imagine that this sadness is felt by the parent as well: they too feel the wall and have the feeling that “my child will only truly love and accept me again if I embrace their views instead of mine.”

So, both parties feel like victims of conditional love.

Now, of course it’s true that it is exceedingly difficult to feel close to someone who holds opposing views, many of which may be downright offensive and deeply hurtful – but I’ve noticed a self-centeredness here when I’ve seen this issue discussed on social media:
Continue reading Holding those with opposing views to a higher standard than we hold ourselves

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Catching Nuance

In the musical, My Fair Lady, by Alan Jay Lerner, a professor takes on a cockney flower girl as his protégé and gives her speech lessons until she can pass in public society as a lady. And indeed he succeeds. Yet in the end this young woman finds herself caught between two worlds: she no longer fits comfortably in the cockney world she came from (a world she can never fully return to for her speech has forever been altered), but neither does she feel at home in the posh world.

I’ve come to see myself in a similar way, as a “My Fair Lady” of sorts. I would rather be myself, authentic, instead of pretending to believe this or that just to fully fit in on one side or another. But it means sometimes journeying through no man’s land. I will be misunderstood. A lot.

It’s my experience that people don’t ask questions, they just write me off. If they hear I’m a feminist they assume I’m pro-choice, if they hear I’m an evangelical, they assume I’m anti-LGBT. You get the drift. But I wonder … how many times have I made similar incorrect assumptions about others? Continue reading Catching Nuance

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