“We need to move from an ego driven need to be right to a soulful desire to be faithful.” – Michael Hildalgo
While refreshing my Facebook page, I came across this article called “What’s wrong with playing Theology Police?” and decided to read it. I was challenged immediately, especially since so much of this blogging course has revolved around sharing our opinions and sometimes getting offended and trying to always prove we are right.
A few things really struck me while reading this article. We need to realise no matter how deep the desire is to be right, we are not 100 percent correct about everything. I admit, I am one of those individuals who, like many, struggle with this. We want to be right all the time and refuse to proven wrong. It’s time to eat some humble pie, grow up and admit that there is a ‘right’ and a ‘wrong’ to everything we say, do and believe.
I also realised how quickly others jump into an intellectual argument to combat other’s beliefs and when this happens it is so often met with hostility, which gets you nowhere. I am often too shy to start these conversations so I often find myself on the other side of the conversation, feeling hostile and closed to other’s opinions. I feel we should shift our mindset. One from seeing theory, theology, intelligence (or whatever we may use to prove a point) as a weapon against other people but rather as a vehicle that moves us toward being more faithful to our beliefs and values.
In this context to be faithful is to remain with steadfast devotion to someone or something. This someone or something is the thing that shapes you, your moral values and your view on the world. And for me, this means being faithful to our God in my relationship with him. Trusting that God will show me the right way and having enough trust to do that even though it may be the harder thing to do, but knowing God has my back. For others this could be the belief in the common good for all, or any other thing that a person might use to shape who they are. When we focus on being faithful to our beliefs, what is right and wrong becomes readily available.
Another important thing that I can learn from the article is this: be faithful with love. If you do not love, you give or gain nothing, our actions become quite meaningless if they are not given out of love. Or they mean so much more when done out of love.
Perhaps a modern paraphrase for us today would be: “If I have my doctrinal statement nailed down flawlessly and am able to prove myself right by quoting verses to support my theology, but do not have love, I am dead wrong.”
Reading this challenged me in a new way. In the past few weeks I have realised how important it is to have a reason for your beliefs in certain things in order to properly articulate yourself with others so they can understand where you’re coming from. But are my arguments/reasons said or done out of love? Sometimes not. Once again I have to eat some humble pie.
Some practical things I can do is to not speak if I am not willing to listen. This will need much practise. If my desire is truly to be faithful, then I would be open to accepting criticism, humbly receiving correction and inviting others to offer their insights. This is the journey I am inviting myself on.
We are greatly limited in how others will receive our comments, but we are not limited in how we share them.
I want to grow my responses to promote more thoughtful, faithful dialogue and not feed argumentative detachment. Afterall, we are called to unity, and not division.