My post today is a blend of recent reflections on humility and the media.
Growing up, it seems that the idea of “respecting everyone’s opinion” was drilled into my head. as I’ve gotten a bit older though, I’ve realized, as we all do I suspect, that I don’t have to respect everyone’s opinions. So many opinions around us are obviously uniformed, misinformed, or even hateful.
How many times do we hear (or participate with) otherwise solid, kind people speak a hateful opinion about something? How many times have we (especially in company that “thinks like us”) indulged in conversations where we tear something or someone apart?
The devil does walk among us, and he’s certainly doing serious work in and with many people and things. But he’s walking even closer than we think: He is in our prideful, polarizing and often, objectively uneducated opinions.
The kinds of strong opinions we like to form about things that we don’t really know all the facts about. Religion, legislation, politics, education, organizations, parenting…the list goes on. We form incredibly strong opinions about people and things without giving them even the slightest benefit of the doubt. Without getting the facts from an objective source–or seeking any facts at all. For religions, for example, those facts would be in the official books and documents that outline what that religion believes. The Koran. The Catechism of the Catholic Church.
We form opinions after seeing or hearing a rule, action, word or maybe an explanation from someone else. Those things are just the tip of the iceberg though, or may reflect a fundamental misunderstanding or misrepresentation. In reality, there is almost always an incredible amount of background that builds up to that one thing. If we knew about all of that background, many times our views might change.
I sincerely hope that others give me more benefit of the doubt regarding the way I speak, live, pray, parent–and heck, even drive–than I have given others in the past.
I’m so humbled by that.
And determined to resist getting sucked into polarizing speech and conversations, to in all situations, within reason, to give others the benefit of the doubt when I don’t know all the facts, and to keep my mind and heart open for loving–and learning.
Just digging myself another philosophical hole here. But I’m convinced, in any case, that I could personally use a healthy dose of humility and tongue biting. And dare I suggest that both of those medicinal virtues would probably do most of us some good?