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Confessions of a Realistic Pollyanna

The Line

When I was little, westerns were very popular on television. Many times they were very simple to watch. The shows always dealt with good versus evil. The good guys always wore white hats. The bad guys wore black. It was easy to draw a line between us and them. We wanted to be on the side of the good guys who could never do wrong. We wanted to boo against the bad guys. Life seemed so simple then. Life was black and white, it was not grey whatsoever.

I think we take these simple ideas of good and evil, right and wrong into our adulthood. It becomes easy for us to say we are totally right and the others are totally wrong. People who vote like me are intelligent, sensitive to the needs of others, good looking, and right. People who don't vote like me are ill informed, stupid, only think of themselves. They are mean They are greedy. What have you. In the way that I did as a child, I sometimes think of the world as black and white. I like to think that I am wearing a white cowboy hat and those that disagree with me are wearing black hats.

But life isn't that simple. For no one is completely a saint. No one is right 100% of the time, not even me. I have blind spots and biases. I, at times, am completely off base. I, at times, am not sensitive to others. In the same way, no one is completely a monster. Everyone has at least some redeeming qualities. No one is completely and utterly wrong about everything. Oh sure a few may come close but no one is 100% evil.

Last week, while I was on continuing education, one of the speakers, Stephen Burns, a lecturer in Melbourne, said something which shook my naive thinking about right and wrong. He said whenever we draw a line in the sand and say that I am right and you are wrong, then Jesus is on the other side of the line. Whoa! that's hard to take. It means that I must listen to those who have differing opinions from me because God is in that opinion as well. It means I can't sit on my high horse and laugh at those on the other side of the line because maybe they do have some things right and I have other things wrong. It means that I need to be willing to grow in my understandings and learn why others believe what they do. It means admitting that I can't be pointing out the faults of others, until I admit that I have my own faults. It means I need to don a grey cowboy hat and not worry about how my colour hat compares with others. Blessings.

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