Reject The Summons To A False Dilemma

 “If you’re not with me, then you’re against me!” 

We take sides in family, friendships, politics, the workplace, and more!  Often, we even take pride and puff out our chests at the divide of which we are at the root, when often we probably should be hiding our faces at the damage we have done – often irreparable.  Sometimes we get so wound up in it that we can’t get out, and we collect other accomplices and victims in our ball of twine as we wind up to make sure we are not in it alone.  Then we assume that those who won’t join us are therefore on the opposing side.  Is it worth it?  Does it make us better individuals or life better when we support another person, group, idea, etc., so vehemently that relationships fall into a cavern of uncertainty or spiral down into oblivion?  Did we actually provide a measurable service for anyone?  Or, was it all done for a power-feed for our own ego or other personal gain?
Sure, sometimes we find we must let someone or something go (bad match, matters of safety, etc.), but that is not what I am talking about.  So as not to justify butting in where we don’t belong, or so obtrusively inserting ourselves where we aren’t needed, I am specifically talking about occasions and instances where we are an outside party and  have an opportunity to take a step back and “assist” only if asked.  I am talking about times where a difference could actually be made by our absence and by keeping our mouths closed – where showing our support would look more like keeping our personal thoughts in our heads vs. putting them into someone else’s space.  I am also talking about how allowing the outcome to be whatever it is going to be without interjecting or injecting our personal selves into it where matters do not require our attendance, literally or figuratively.

 There is always more… or none

 Truth – this is hard to do sometimes!  It is so easy to get caught up, especially if it involves someone/something/a group that we love or despise.  We want to take sides!  Sometimes we think we have to take sides.  But do we have to?  Instead of jumping right in, how different might the outcome be if we first took some time to assess the need for us to insert ourselves in some way, and then just opted out instead?  Or in the case of family and friends, what if we just waited to be asked for assistance or advice, and then still only gave what was actually needed vs. what we personally felt?  We might stop here to consider that when we think we are helping someone with our opinions that we might actually be putting that person in an uncomfortable position with us!  They might really love us so much that they won’t say anything in order to avoid offending us.  It happens!  From there may come avoidance, distrust, dishonesty… you get the picture.  Or, you may just get an earful, and then what?  Once you have inserted yourself as someone’s steadfast ally, what will you do if they change their mind and go a different direction than what you want for them?  How are you now going to react and respond with their once-opposing side, or yet another new choice?

What I am suggesting here is to think way ahead before you jump in feet first, eyes closed, and mouth open if you are considering taking sides with someone or on something.  Once you choose sides you are dividing more than just the two entities in question.  Your energy in the matter will cause a wake.  There is more than one way to show your love and commitment to your person, cause, or group, and it does not always have to mean making the “other side” appear wrong.  Do not expect everyone to jump on board with you if you choose to take sides; and when someone chooses not to, do not fall for the false dilemma that just because they aren’t “with you” that they are “against you.”  Do not actualize an enemy or opponent where there was none.  They may simply realize they have other options, as do you.

 Here’s an idea! 

Caitlyn vs. War Heroes, Christians, and the Importance of Stones

How quick we are to judge someone else’s idea of a hero.  How quickly are we to make comparisons of their hero to another hero we approve of.  Unfortunately, this is comparing apples to oranges, and only proves that we have no room to grow in our personal ideology.  It only shows our unwillingness to stand in another’s shoes and have the possibility of some enlightenment and understanding. 
I am weary of everyone comparing Caitlyn Jenner to war heroes (apples and oranges), quoting Bible scriptures about her, and poking fun at her journey.  Just because you cannot imagine it, does not make it untrue.  Just because it is not true for you, does not mean that it is false.  Who are you that you think it is okay to dictate who someone else’s hero should be?  Who are you to ridicule someone else’s idea of who their hero is or should be?  In my opinion, this is a form of bullying.  Yes I said it, bullying!
In case you are still confused or simply unwilling to figure this out on your own:
transitive verb
1
:  to treat abusively
2
:  to affect by means of force or coercion
intransitive verb
:  to use browbeating language or behavior 
  
1
a :  a mythological or legendary figure often of divine descent endowed with great strength or ability
b :  an illustrious warrior
c :  a man admired for his achievements and noble qualities
d :  one who shows great courage
2
a :  the principal male character in a literary or dramatic work
b :  the central figure in an event, period, or movement
3
plural usually he·ros :  submarine 2
4
:  an object of extreme admiration and devotion
For those of you who just cannot get past your scriptures and feel the need to laud them over others, here are a few (NIV) to consider before you say another word about Ms. Jenner’s journey.  Consider if you rise above any of this criteria:

  • Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.  John 8:7 NIV
    • Raise your hand if this is you.
  • But I tell you, do not resist an evil person.  If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.  Matthew 5:39
    • Have you ever lashed out at anyone you were angry with – ‘ever done a vengeful deed?
  • For he who said, “You shall not commit adultery,” also said, “You shall not murder.”  If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker.  James 2:11
    • Have you ever cheated on someone?  Have you ever killed someone?  (No?  Did you go to war?)
  • When you sit to dine with a ruler, note well what is before you, and put a knife to your throat if you are given to gluttony.  Proverbs 23:1, 2
    • Do you overeat or drink too much?
  • Hosea Chapter 4 (You must look this one up on your own and read the whole chapter.  You will get an interesting view of yourself.)
    • This will surely give you an idea of just how much with or without sin you actually are.
  • Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.  Romans 13:7
    • How often have you been 100% honest on your taxes?
  • Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness.  1John 3:4
    • Wow.  It says “everyone,” not some of you.
  • He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.  Matthew 25:45
    • How do you treat animals, people with different beliefs, children, people with disabilities, people you are not fond of, people who live a lifestyle you can’t/won’t understand?  Have you ridiculed anyone lately?
  • Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  1 Corinthians 13:4-7
    • This is easy.  If what you are saying or doing does not resemble love, then you are simply doing it wrong.

As defined above, there are different kinds of heroes.  Men who fought in wars do not hold the definition of hero alone.  Caitlyn is a hero to some, and it is not any higher science that she is not seen in the same way some see a war hero.  I highly doubt that anyone is suggesting that.  You cannot compare Caitlyn to a war hero, just as you cannot compare a war hero to a brave woman who has fought her hardest to overcome a deadly illness.  Moreover, because she is not a hero to you, does not mean she is not a hero to someone else.  Likewise, one who is a hero to you may not be to someone else.  (Mind blown?)  Just because you cannot understand something (or refuse to), does not mean it is not real or true for someone else.  Perhaps it is a signal that it is time to stretch your brain, your mind, and more importantly, your heart!

On a side but similar note, how many of you that are screaming foul about Caitlyn, are yet standing firm with the Duggar family?  Here is your serving of hypocrisy and pretense for the day.
Here is what being willing to learn something new and admitting it looks like:  
The man in this article shared a post, his thoughts, and comparisons, about Jenner being considered a hero.  He just picked a fairly random photo he pulled from the web and posted it.  However, he then took it upon himself to be responsible for the picture he chose to share to illustrate his point.  He read a shocking story behind the photo and (Here is the part to pay attention to.)  instead of ignoring it, he took full personal responsibility and posted an update with the story about the picture.  Notice how many shared this man’s post initially,  then pay attention to how many shared his update.  I call the latter shameful.  It took courage on his part to change his tune once he learned something new.  How many of us are willing to do this even in the face of showing we were wrong?  How many of us would ignore it be able to hang onto an ideal?  That is called a lie, and you can refer to the scriptures above if you would like.
I get that Caitlyn Jenner is up front right now because of whom she is, her celebrity status. To that I say simply, “So what!”  This is not my plea for her to be your newest hero, or to even agree that she is one.  What is true is that Bruce Jenner was my hero and idol in junior high school.  I was even quoted in our school newspaper about that when I was interviewed for “Athlete of the Month,” or something like that.  I still think what he accomplished was amazing.  As an adult I see it a little differently and would see him as someone I admire for his past athletic talents and hard work.

Do I personally think Caitlyn is a hero?  I honestly cannot relate, and that is part of my point today.  The closest I can come to relating is memories of a version of me long ago that was uncomfortable in her own skin until I became more authentic in my life.  I am now more comfortable and a much happier person.  I can see clearly why she is a hero to many, regardless of what my personal beliefs or feelings are on the subject.  I am not in their shoes, so I will not endeavor to attempt at proving them wrong or ridiculing anyone for it.  If she makes someone in a similar life-situation feel better about themselves, gives them courage and hope, helps someone feel empowered, then who am I to throw stones?  My own beliefs are not threatened because someone else has different ones, and I do not make it mean that my beliefs are suddenly null and void or unimportant because of it.

So… about those stones you were throwing?  Instead, how about you kick rocks on your judgements and stop bullying.  Besides, realize that stone might be returned one day!

This Ride Together

“True wisdom listens more, talks less and can get along with all types of people.” Kiana Tom


Well, wouldn’t it be nice to see more of that! Watching the news, reading different social media, conversations with others… ONCE AGAIN everybody is judging, and no one is listening. It is easy to get caught up in the finger-pointing, and apparently way easier than examining ourselves, and a world away from even considering that who we are pointing at might just have a valid experience that should be listened to.

We are quick to belittle someone else’s experience; and how ridiculous that is when we cannot possibly know what it is like in their shoes. It is one thing if it is someone we can relate to, but if they are not then they are discounted and dismissed immediately. The mentality of “If it isn’t happening to me that way, then it’s not happening to you,” is not only absurd, but dangerous.  Then we sit back in bewilderment when someone gets so sick and tired of being marginalized and unheard that they lose it. Is it REALLY any wonder? Is it really so hard or scary to ATTEMPT to understand another’s experiences? It is FOOLISH to think that other people do not have lives we cannot imagine!

We are so scared of losing what we know about ourselves or our foothold that we go into full defense when it is challenged, when it’s the very time we should be LISTENING. It is sad, because what is greater than losing our former selves to humanity? But that point is missed when we’re attacking one another, when we are consumed with proving how right we are and how wrong they are.

It is all FEAR.  Be bold; be fearless today.  Take a step outside of your own box… have a listen.