Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Don't be a dichotomizer...

Many people probably won't click on this Facebook link or read this blog post because I just used a big word. In fact, I added an r to it probably making it not even be a word. The word dichotomize means "regard or represent as divided or opposed." In other words, to dichotomize means to put things into two categories with nothing in the middle, and thus, if it were a word, a dichotomizer would be one who does that -- an "either-or" type person.

About 8 years ago I met someone who taught me about the concept of being a "both and" kind of person. It is possible to find truth in both sides of an argument, to be on the side of two people who disagree and truly believe both of them have good points, and to embrace two very different concepts even though they seem like opposites.

My favorite example is justice and grace. Which of those is God? Is He a God of justice or a God of grace? And the answer of course is yes. God is both a God of justice and a God of grace.

I think that we often get ourselves into trouble when we put things in opposite corners. So and so must be a completely bad person if they did such and such. And if you know how did you know what then that means they are always good. We are all a mix of all kinds of stuff.

I'm not perfect at this. I have to remind myself often not to get stuck in that kind of thinking. Because when it do, it always leads to something that isn't good.

I'm not sure why I'm writing this today. Often I hear that someone reads something I wrote and that it was just for them. So maybe that is you today.

But let me challenge all of us, myself included, to not put someone into a corner that they can't get out of. Let's not label people as "hopeless" or "bad" or "irredeemable." Let's do our best to recognize that because someone steals a few times, it does not make them forever a thief, or if they fabricate the truth occasionally, it doesn't mean they always lie. Let's try to see the good in people.

And where there are issues where we disagree, let's try to see the other person's point. When we stop seeing the other person's point.... when we start believing that if someone disagrees with us, they can't be someone we love, then are world starts to get awfully small.

God, grant us all the grace to open our arms wide enough to embrace everyone that You love.

Help us to imitate you, and to revel in the scandal of your grace.

1 comment:

S Yaroch said...

I am reading Messy Grace by Caleb Kaltenbach....It is exactly what you are describing. Good stuff.