Marin Luther King said, "The question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be... The nation and the world are in dire need of creative extremists."
I don't want to be divisive. I want to do everything in my power to unify people instead of causing separation. People have a hard enough time getting along with one another without me pushing my extreme thoughts. As one writer puts it, there is this polarization tendency in me, especially when others don’t agree with me:
"When people are enthused by a particular idea they may gradually acquire a more extreme viewpoint. When looking at evidence, they will amplify confirming evidence and downplay disconfirming evidence. This contributes to their viewpoint becoming more entrenched and extreme. This is partly due to a desire for distinctness from alternative views, leading to the person moving their position away from views that have some similarity. To agree with an opponent on a small point may seem to be a slippery slope and confuse one's clarity. In arguing, many people like clear positions, where they are 'good' and the other person is 'bad'. This means that any agreement at all is hazardous as it makes oneself bad in any area of overlap. It may also seem as if the other person is trying to 'seduce me to the dark side' (so causing further retreat). The easiest approach in such cases is to take an extreme position and/or push your opponent to the opposite extreme."
So how am I handling extremism? As I mentioned in the last post from yesterday (check out yesterday’s post): By living in the middle.
Am I extreme about certain things? Yes. I have certain convictions about life. However, when those extremes become absolutes for others as well, I may need to do some self-reflection. For example, I value PROFESSIONAL counseling A LOT. I often joke that there are two types of people- 1) People that go to counseling and 2) People that 'need' to go to counseling. I'm joking, but oftentimes I'm not. Ash and I go to counseling because we love it and value it. I do want people, at the very least, to be aware of counseling and to know the potential value in it as well. What I can't do is allow people to feel like I'm judging if they choose not to go to counseling. They may choose to think differently than me on this idea. I can't allow my view of counseling to become an idol; to let it's position become higher on my scale than the person of Jesus.
I've decided that I will only be extreme about a few things.
2) My marriage with Ashley
3) Loving people
(Even though I've chosen to be extreme, I will not be annoying about those things. You can be extreme without being annoying.) Outside of these things, I won't argue about much. I don't want to spend time and energy on issues and people who just want a fight. On the other hand, if people are pushed away because of my love for Jesus, Ashley, or people-I can live with that. If I've pushed people away because they don't agree with my thoughts on counseling, my new eating plan, my thoughts on alcohol, a personal pet peeve, my humor, or something else that is not Jesus, Ashley, or dealing with loving someone...shame on me.
I DO have convictions about counseling, eating healthy, alcohol, humor, and many other things, which will effect the way that I live. People may become aware of these, but when it comes to how I interact with others, you know where to find me. In the middle.
I love Jesus for a lot of reasons. One of the reasons I love Jesus is how attractive he was to sinners. I believe Jesus was the holiest person that has ever lived, YET the sinners wanted to hang out with him. There is a tension in this life to be extreme about certain issues, but still not push others away. Often times- this is the middle. Jesus mastered this.