Taking Sides

January 23, 2021 by Charlie Hedges − 2 Comments

Although he’s regularly asked to do so, God does not take sides in American politics.” George J. Mitchell, Senate Majority Leader 1989-1995, Democrat

Personally, I believe that “truth” is by nature quite fluid. However, I also know that my belief in the fluidity of truth is not such a popular opinion. We like to be “right.” We like to “win.” But the results can be devastating.

Suspending Judgment

I still recall being challenged in premarital counseling 36 years ago to honor the practice of “suspending judgment.” The therapist made the point that, at all times, I (we) might be wrong. That lesson stuck.

Today, in the happiest years of our marriage, Pam and I practice radical acceptance and reserving judgment toward each other. In the last handful of years we have learned to honor this practice as a rule not as just “a good thing to do.” As a result, love and peace seem to have become more the norm than the exception.

However, many of us, if not most, are inclined toward certainty. It seems that we are inclined to fear openness to opposing beliefs, for in doing so we fear we may endanger our very “sense of self.”

The Path of Taking Sides

Unfortunately, such cognition leads us to “take sides.” As we are trapped in an unnerving era of “taking sides,” real truth has devolved into a fear-filled need for power or domination. My “side” becomes a vehicle for self-preservation.

Now, after all is said, I DO take sides. I take the side of love and kindness. I take the side of peace. I take the side of dignity for all people. I take the side of Amanda Gorman. (Funny, I also fiercely take the side of freedom, meritocracy, and individualism.)

The “Side” of Love

Practicing love and openness has become tragically difficult. With the enormous volume of misinformation from media (all media sources) we find ourselves questioning precisely whom we can believe or whom we can trust? Most people I know admit they believe the underlying purpose of media is “entertainment” and “arousing angst” in an effort to garner followers. Their gain is our loss.

What can we do? I suggest that we can commit ourselves to our beliefs, while at the same time suspending judgment of the motives of those that disagree with us. Judging motives is very rarely helpful. Shoot, I can barley understand my own motives, let alone think I can know the motives of another person.

So, stand for what you believe. Just be sure the foundation for all your “stands” rests on the solid ground of love and peace. I can assure you this: If love and peace are your goals, God will be on your side.

If You Want to Take a Side

Take the Side of Love

Photo courtesy of wildpixel at istockphoto

2 thoughts on “Taking Sides”

  1. Politically people have been tricked into polarized sides because their emotions have muddied many facts; and the reporting has become “opinion” instead of truth. I agree in listening to debates based on factual evidence. However there are some things that do not allow a gray area. As a country, we are now in a place where we must identify what we stand for that is not negotiable. And not wavering in some cases may not “feel like it”; but actually is an act of love.

    1. Thank you for the feedback. That is precisely why we need to listen. All “sides” claim their side is politically correct. We can only negotiate this through candid dialogue. Appreciate you point of view.

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