The older I get, the more certain I get that it is unwise to be too certain of much of anything.
Sure, there are a few precepts that I hold very dear and I am certain of my commitment to them. For instance, I am certain of my faith in Jesus. I am certain that it is important to be kind. I am certain that it is critical to have integrity. I am certain that love is more powerful than hate and both are more powerful than indifference. I am much less certain of what exactly these abstract precepts will look like in any given set of concrete circumstances. I’ve given up taking stands about what I should/would/could do in any situation that I have not yet encountered. I just don’t have the imagination or the energy for it. Besides, I think that there are probably enough people in the world who live by absolutes. I don’t need to be one of them.
I can remember, when I was younger, I used to have a much firmer grasp on the “right thing.” I was often shocked by the actions of people I knew. I had a picture in my head of how “good” people behaved. Sadly, I judged people by that warped window into their souls. I didn’t allow for the possibility that my picture was much narrower than reality. I also didn’t take into consideration that cracks, repairs, scratches, and scars over time can distort the view through the window.
I find I get more tolerant as I get older. I have never been sure about this “getting wiser with age” stuff, but I do think there is a certain amount of wisdom in becoming less resolute in what I think I know.
This year, I am resolving to be even less resolute about things that really don’t matter. Loving people is way more effective than judging people. Understanding people is more important than taking a position about people. Acknowledging that who I am and how I live my life may not be the only “good” way to be and live. Yes, it is important to be discerning about things that could be dangerous to personal physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual safety. Discerning does not mean certainty, however. I’m always going to leave room for the Holy Spirit.
Did you have any New Year’s resolutions for 2020? How are they going for you? Please share your perspective by leaving a comment. In the alternative, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Resolve to have a great day!