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In Moderation

Confessions of a realistic pollyanna

I genuinely believe that most things are done best in moderation. If I eat too much I suffer ill consequences: obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes. If I try to keep up with the Jones' and buy, buy, buy, I run the risk of going into debt and finding that my life is never fulfilled as new and better things make my gathered things obsolete. If I get totally obsessed with my happiness, I am doomed to failure as bad things will happen and I can't be happy all of the time. If I drive too fast in the car, I run the risk of getting a speeding ticket or causing an accident. In general, life is better in moderation.

There are certain exceptions to this rule. Some things are not safe in any fashion. I do not use illicit drugs for instance because I know they will lead to harm or addiction. Similarly I don't smoke tobacco. Nothing in the world would get me to take part in the Tide Pod challenge (where people swallow those little laundry detergent packages). I am also quite clumsy so I don't think you'd ever quite describe me as being obsessed with an extreme sport. Dangerous things are best left to those that have a death wish.

In my politics I realise that not one political party or politician is perfect. No party truly represents all of my views. No politician is 100% wrong. Some may more closely approach my understandings but no politician or party gets it right 100% of the time. In church, I have yet to find a theologian or a denomination that shares my belief system all of the time.

I've been comfortable with this mid-ground personal view for a long time. But then this week I saw a table made by Jim Lattictot which showed me that even in terms of virtue, we need to take a middle path. It showed how each virtue can be twisted if taken to an extreme. Take respect for instance. All of us would say that respect is a good thing. We show respect for others, we respect other's rights, etc. Also we know that to show disrespect to others is a bad thing. By doing so we belittle, devalue, cause division, and cause hatred. So respect is a good thing. But can there be too much respect? This chart said yes, too much respect is idolatry which is not a great thing because it gives something too much worth. The same holds true with discernment. A discerning person is wise because they make thoughtful decisions. The opposite of that is to be foolhardy. In this case we make decisions without any thought at all which is not a good thing. But if we are too discerning, we run the risk of being judgmental.

The fact of the matter is that virtues such as integrity, love, humility, diligence, temperance, and courage are good things. To disregard the values of these virtues is never helpful leading to things such as corruption, foolishness, selfishness, excessive pride, slothfulness, licentiousness, made by and cowardice. . But to pursue any of these virtues as an ends to themselves is never a good thing either. Too much integrity becomes legalism. Too much love becomes enablement. Too much humility becomes degradation. Too much diligence becomes workaholism. Too much temperance becomes strictness. Too much courage becomes foolhardiness.

 

I think we need to take the middle path in life.. It may not be the post exciting path. It is not the path of the dare devils or the Tide Pod eaters. It means learning to being able to draw the line and knowing when we have had enough but not overdoing. But the middle path in life seems like the best one to follow. Blessings

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