Wednesday 10 February 2016

What if I'm wrong?

There are so many issues in our society for which people form strong opinions. Whether it be a global issue, such as climate change or asylum seekers, or something more local, such as the clearing of land for housing or an increase in crime. Some people are very vocal about their view writing to newspapers, local politicians and on social media. Others join a public protest with a supportive group. Others remain quiet until their buttons are pushed in a more private discussion. 

How we act upon our opinions depends on a number of factors. Personality plays a big part. Some people are more comfortable expressing themselves in public, while others really don't want to draw attention to themselves at all. Some people are born leaders and forge the way, while others are more comfortable being part of a group or institution that provides a network in which to relate. The way we view the world and our place in it also has an influence. Is the purpose of our life here to bring about change and a better way of being for all? Are we simply a moment in time, unable to make any real contribution to the vastness of life? Is this life significant or are we waiting for something more wondrous and perfect after death? Does how I live my life now determine how next life will be? Each of these views brings a different ideology which will determine how we act upon our opinions.

I am part of a church, the Uniting Church in Australia, that is not afraid to voice its opinions and stand up for justice when it feels something is wrong in our society. I am eternally grateful for this Church, as I am a thinker rather than a doer. I will ponder the world around me. I will reflect on the wrongs I see. I will look at all the aspects of a situation and form my own opinions. I will hesitate... and hesitate... and hesitate... The question rings through my head, "What if I'm wrong?"

In the last year or so, I have been trying to get out of my head more and let my heart and gut have a bit more of a say. I have tried to find the courage to voice my opinions on some issues that I am very passionate about. I have received a lot of support, but I have also had some people tell me I am wrong. That's a big deal for me.

So, here is how I am learning to deal with that question that seems to return again and again. If my opinions, and therefore my actions as well, are based on love, compassion, peace and non-violence (all the things that Jesus and many other wise people preach about) I must be heading in the right direction. If the people who tell me I am wrong are acting out of fear, ignorance or their own lack of control I need to be very aware. I am not sure that this is a matter of being right or wrong. To me it is a matter of being a decent, loving human being who longs to be in good relationships.

So, now, if that question pops into my head, "What if I'm wrong?", I listen a little more to my heart and gut. If the way of love and compassion is wrong, I don't want to be right.