Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Friends or Enablers?

I'm going to preface this by saying that what you are about to read contains a lot of hard truths. Be prepared to get upset or change your mind.

I've noticed lately that accountability seems to have gone on an open ended vacation. I see people all the time who talk to me about their bad choices, their misdeeds, they all talk about it like it's normal. They are caught off guard by the fact that I am put off by these things. I ask some of them if any of their other friends counseled them against it. Shockingly, the answer is no. Why?

Tolerance. Or what people call tolerance. Tolerance actually means: a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward opinions and practices that differ from one's own.

Tolerance does not mean that people should be able to do whatever they want and everyone else's opinions be damned. People are allowed to have opinions, but the false idea of "tolerance" hinders that. The only allowable opinion is the popular one. Here's the truth.

You have a community. Your community is your group of friends and family that you trust that has the experience to know better, has the desire to help you, and has the objectivity needed but also has the love for you that allows them to know what's best for you. As we all should know, sometimes, knowing what to do is difficult because in some situations, we are too emotionally involved to make a good decision. That's where the community comes in.

We all have at least one person in our communities, know it or not, who has the ability to separate the emotion and know exactly what to do. Who has the experience and the wisdom to counsel. What's stopping them? Our misguided definition of "tolerance". I don't agree with the use of the word these days and I don't live by it. But for the simple reasons that I study psychology, I show people that I truly do care, and I believe God has given me the ability to relate to people in just about any situation, I can reach a point of understanding that allows me to have an impact.

That's the other reason. Most people don't know what to do, don't trust themselves or God to lead them to a place where understanding can be received and used. And even if they do, they're not confident that the wisdom can be received. So they enable. Frankly, it's a crock. If it makes them hate me, I'm not willing to disagree, which means that I can't seem to care. That attitude is cowardice. As is the attitude that you don't need to listen to anyone.

The only exception I have encountered to doing this job is when people are far too blissfully ignorant to know. It seems far fetched to some of us that that would be the case. I know of a couple people right off the top of my head. I have tried and tried and I still haven't given up, but how difficult it is to reach someone who's blinder than Stevie Wonder! I share the same values with some of these people, the only difference is that I know that God has sent us into the world to share the message of love and truth and some of them just want to live they way they want. Life is not a free pass to be selfish, nor is it a pity party. Life is meant to be enjoyed, yes, but that doesn't come without the sense of fulfilling your purpose.

I've heard it said once, that if you don't tell people the absolute truth when absolutely necessary, then you must really hate them. It's as true now as the day I first heard it ten years ago.

And that's one thing that will be the same in the face of changing times. The absolute truth.