Back when Bob and I were babies (well, maybe 22 isn't a baby for some,but it was for me) we had a pastor, Bob Hurlbut, who said a remarkable thing that has stayed with me through the years. During a class on marriage, he taught that all relationship trouble, be it friendship, marriage, business, etc, all relationship trouble can be boiled down to one question: why aren't you like me?
Every now and then, I encounter pressure from one quarter or another that reminds me of that lesson heard so long ago. It can be very hard to disagree without being disagreeable. Just watch a news (read political agenda) show to be convinced.
There is a lot of pressure on people to conform. To be fashionable. To be in on the latest wave of current opinion. And that dishonest, but pervasive, siren call...to be cool.
We all know that what is good for the goose can kill the gander. Wine is a fabulous hobby unless you are an alcoholic. Then, the elixir of the Gods that some people spend a lot of time and money on turns out to be a destroyer of physical, mental and spiritual health. Cheese gets a entire amazing department at Whole Foods, with many people devoted to the nuance of flavors there. Unless you are lactose intolerant. Then, cheese is a quick ticket to distress.
Those examples are obvious. Less so are the items of opinion. Politics. Religion. Justice. I hesitated to include justice, because the part of me that wants everyone to think like I do insists that justice is obvious and non-negotiable. Either it is, or it is not, just. But then, I am the goose. It is so much easier for me to see the goose in others. For those who claim righteous superiority in whatever arena, white feathers float about them. Or me, as the case may be.
We need deliverance from ourselves. Deliverance from believing we are better, smarter, more moral than others. That particular judgement is God's to make. We need to know when we are the goose, and when we are the gander. To see when we are insisting others believe as we do, and when we are buying into a load of crap because it is fashionable.
The choice is always mine as to what I will buy into. I can't really blame others. The victim mentality is rampant in our world. But I choose what to believe, and I choose how to behave. Letting go of the notion that I can control what anyone else believes or does is also a choice. Why aren't you like me? Because I am my own goose. And you are your own gander. Long live free will.