The Sin of Certainty
There's a lot of certainty going around right now.
Lots of people seem pretty certain about their views on politics. It doesn't seem to matter from which end of the political spectrum they happen to inhabit... they are pretty certain that they are right.
And then there are the people who are so very certain about their religious beliefs. I know a lot of these people. Heck, some days I'm one of them.
These folks are often more certain about their religious convictions than they are about politics. Sometimes they are so much the same thing that it's hard to tell their religion apart from their politics and vice versa.
But here's where things seem to be unraveling for us...
It's not enough that we are so very certain about our beliefs, views, and opinions... it's like we can't stand anyone who holds a different belief, view or opinion.
I read this amazing poem by the poet Yehuda Amichai yesterday, and it spoke to me so much I had to share it:
From the place where we are rightCome on! Yes. Yes. That. All-day and twice on Sunday, am I right?
flowers will never grow
in the spring.
The place where we are right
is hard and trampled
like a yard,
but doubts and loves
dig up the world
like a mole, a plow.
But listen, we can't get to a place where the ground below us is churned up and fertile if we are not ready to admit that we don't know everything and that there might be other people with beliefs, views, and opinions that might help shape our own.
Truthfully, there are some people in the world who are nigh to impossible to find common ground with on account of the fact that they are certified, grade-A jerks.
You've got to let those people go their way with a prayer of blessing... maybe one that goes something like this: "Jesus loves you... even though everyone else thinks you're a ___________."
You can fill in your own word there. Use your imagination.
By contrast, the Apostle Paul exhorted his readers, "If it's at all possible, and within your power to do so, do your best to live peaceably with everyone."
We can begin that process by simply letting go of our need for certainty, and our desire to be right. And we can do this in such a way that we exemplify a very important truth:
You are able to receive so much more when you live open-handed, no matter what you have to let go of to do so.
May the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.