Navigating Convictions

So much has transpired since my last post. In the wake of the global and national crises we have been experiencing, I felt obligated to share my thoughts, but I was so overwhelmed with emotion that I never achieved a draft suitable to publish. Although I haven’t been blogging, I have continued to think and have conversations with my friends and family about all that has been going on. One idea that I had, that stuck with me is conviction. Of all the thoughts people were sharing, that was the one concept that I felt was missing.

In the Christian community the word conviction is often associated with a feeling of shame or guilt after the action or thought of a bad deed. We normally feel convicted after the fact. The true meaning of conviction, though, is a strong feeling or belief about something. A conviction is very similar to a moral or value. When it comes to deeds, it is that conviction that causes you to feel bad about doing it or thinking about it.

There has been a stronger call to action than ever before with the most recent social justice tragedies. I have seen people parting ways with friends who are silent or have ambiguous feelings about racism and police brutality. While the collective mourning and outrage is a no brainer for some, others seem to need more time to develop empathy for a people and an experience they are unfamiliar with. It can be mind blowing, but it is true. What I’ve come to understand is that we have to accept where people are, and understand that they may not have developed the same convictions that we have. It’s frustrating, disappointing and it may even be heartbreaking, but the truth is that convictions developed out of guilt don’t carry the same weight as convictions that someone develops on their own. One is more likely to fight for the convictions they develop, whereas, if an idea is forced upon them, they’re not likely to go toe to toe with someone, should the idea be challenged.

Especially in sensitive times like these, we mustn’t abandon the practice of relating with one another. What I mean is taking the time to understand the background and experiences of others, instead of being so quick to dismiss them on account of one statement or silence, in some cases. This may be a tall order for the random people making wild comments on social media, but it’s applicable for the people you liked until you realized you all had conflicting opinions on a topic that matters to you. If the two of you are open to the conversation, explore the origin of each of your thoughts and share experiences as well. This may eliminate some negative mindsets and assumptions. It can also present information useful for forming new convictions. You never know! People more often convert through safe conversation, as opposed to confrontation filled with rejection and disapproval.

We won’t always agree on the things that matter, but I encourage you to follow peace with others despite their different convictions.

If you’re up for a challenge, try being a safe place of conversation for your friends, family or colleagues.

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