The Little Wrong in Every Right
Just back after a vacation with like-minded people, the mind felt as fresh as the dewy, lush, tropical rain-forests of Kerala, where we shared some good time. It felt amazing to have friends who cracked up at all your jokes, paid steady attention to all your stories, paid heed to all the issues, shared similar views to all of your convictions, agreed upon all perspectives and opinions. It felt good. They understood and agreed on everything that was shared. There was no difference of opinion. It felt one had chanced upon the blissfully mysterious Lost World, the perfect alternate to the universe we were in.
Because in a world of 7.6 billion people, built on multiple forums for mass media and broadcast, to my tiny, finite ears, somebody is always saying something, everybody is saying everything, nobody is actually listening, and regardless of what’s been said, there’s responding! That’s where the scene gets ripe for one to give or take offence, because now, there is a chance for disagreement! And then in the event of one, there’re very violent and chaotic ways of dealing with those: Bulldozing opinions, slapping own belief systems onto another, dredging, name calling, and the list goes on.
It’s the story of our social media platforms, our parliament, our news channels, and then, in a place more close to our hearts, in our churches!
Who’s wrong and who’s right? Who gets to decide? Who will tell?
Psychology offers an interesting thought. The MBTI personality test. ‘The Myers–Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is an introspective self-report questionnaire with the purpose of indicating differing psychological preferences in how people perceive the world around them and make decisions’ (source: Wikipedia)
It says that there are 16 broad categories of people. Then there are combinations of the 16 categories that make other people. Then there are more combinations of the 16 combination. How many are those?
So who among these (16^16) gets to decide who’s right? And yet, each of these people are made in the image of God. That’s because God is soooooo infinite that it takes these many types to actually reflect His entire nature.
Genesis 1:26 ESV
Then God said, “Let us make man in Our image, after Our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
Unique and peculiar as each man can be, as is the handiwork of God, we are all made in the image of God. All. Not one. Not a group. Not a category. It includes ALL. Including the guy who’s got long hair and wears a balaclava, the woman who wears black lipstick, nail paint and has a chin piercing, the one who supports the rainbow movement, the one who is pro-choice, the Trump supporter, the Trump hater, the one who kept quiet and didn’t speak out at the #MeToo campaign, all.
But where is the grace in disagreement?
It’s interesting to see the use of the word ‘let’, when God made man. It says, “Let us make man in our own image. And let them have dominion”
‘Let’ means ‘to allow and not prevent or forbid’.
Let there be uniqueness. Let there be diversity. Let there be unity in the uniqueness. Let there be a flow of thoughts and ideas. Let there be a dash of colours. Let there not just be black and white. Let there be fresh air.
Sadly, we skip the ‘let us’ and move to ‘dominate’ pretty quickly.
Which is why we wrestle inside us to dominate not the birds, fish, creepies and livestock, but another Adam, an Eve, a fellow ‘thinking-and-feeling’ species, actually, even God Himself. Having an opinion or a conviction is one thing. Making the rest of the world bow down to it, is quite another.
True there is an ability to control. There is a desire to control. But what happened in the garden was that the serpent came and showed Eve how she was better along without God, all on her own, wise in her own eyes. Everything promised to look better when it would agree to her than to a greater law, to a greater God, to some unity in diversity.
And we all know how it wasn’t so. Our ability to make a choice makes us think we can control. And choice itself is what made us, us. Our likes, dislikes, outlooks, assurances, stance, beliefs, soft-corners, made us what we are. So why this contention? Why do we wrong each other to make our own rights?
1 John 4:21(b) ESV
: for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.