One thing I’ve observed in life is that many people are too quick to give up on others. In marriage, they promise to cherish until death, but then go on to get divorced or have affairs. In politics, they are quicker to attack an opponent’s character than to explain why they believe the way they do. I have heard Christians tell me that atheists have willingly turned against God and been given over to a depraved mind, making them unreachable. They tell me not to answer a fool in his folly and not to cast my pearls before swine. The thing is, I used to be an atheist and I was reached because I knew some Christians who never gave up on me. If they had followed the popular advice, I might still be an atheist. Besides, the bible also says to always answer a fool in his folly lest he be wise in his own estimation. There is a lot of advice out there that passes for wisdom but I find questionable.
When it comes to lost friends and lovers, we are told not to hold on to the past and find new friends and lovers to replace them with. While sometimes people return to old things because they haven’t let go of the past, other times people return to old things to create a new future with them. We are told that anything we set free will come back to us if it was ever truly ours, but if your strategy is to wait to see if they come back, what happens if they also have the same strategy?
We are told not to move mountains for people that wouldn’t raise a finger for us. This is a terrible idea. Every once in a while, we all need somebody to go out of their way for us, just so we know it’s more than a relationship of convenience. The corollary to this is that every once in a while, we need to go out of our way for others – especially when they don't deserve it. If I always gave up on people who gave up on me, I'd soon have no one. Everyone lets me down sometimes. If everyone only cared about those that cared about them, how would caring ever begin? Sometimes when people hurt me, I give up on them, and then sometimes people hurt me in a way that is so ridiculous and over the top that I realize just how messed up they are and then all I want to do is help them. Why take revenge on those who are already miserable?
We are told that negativity and pessimism is contagious and we should stay away from toxic people, but everyone is negative sometimes – usually with good reason. It is better to hang out with negative people than to hang out with zero people. It is not good for a man to be alone.
We are told to spend time with those wiser than ourselves in order for their wisdom to rub off on us. It is fine to want to hang out with those wiser than yourself, but if they follow the same advice they will not hang out with you.
In the realm of politics we seem especially prone to giving up on each other, but we might agree on more than you think. To learn more, check out my book The Nutcase Across The Street.
Points to ponder:
“If a shepherd has one hundred sheep, and one wanders away and is lost, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others and go out into the hills to search for the lost one? And if he finds it, he will surely rejoice over it more than over the ninety-nine that didn’t wander away! In the same way, it is not my heavenly Father’s will that even one of these little ones should perish.
“If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the fault. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back. But if you are unsuccessful, take one or two others with you and go back again, so that everything you say may be confirmed by two or three witnesses. If that person still refuses to listen, take your case to the church. If the church decides you are right, but the other person won’t accept it, treat that person as a pagan or a corrupt tax collector.” – Matthew 18:12-17
“Those who reject other Christians are wandering in spiritual darkness and don’t know where they are going, for the darkness has made them blind.” – 1st John 2:11
“So if you are standing before the altar in the Temple, offering a sacrifice to God, and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, leave your sacrifice there beside the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God.” – Matthew 5:23-24
“If I warn the wicked, saying, ‘you are under the penalty of death,’ but you fail to deliver the warning, they will die in their sins. And I will hold you responsible, demanding your blood for theirs.” – Ezekiel 3:18
My name is Dan. I am an author, artist, explorer, and contemplator of subjects large and small.