It is good to have people whose positions are clear. In the past we would call those positions absolutes. One of them was to tell the truth. In the court system, we are placed under an oath to swear that we will tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. I have known people who tell me that, as far as they know, they have never told a lie. I have other friends whose positions on religion, politics and many other topics are pretty well-known because they state them in absolute terms.
I came to the conclusion that people all across the spectrum—on the right, in the middle, and on the left—have absolutes. Not everybody likes the absolutes of their neighbor and sometimes, they are not kind to other people because of their absolutes.
A couple of months ago, a friend let me know that a mutual friend is now living with a gentleman without being married. When I heard this news, I remembered that this friend used to make some bold statements about the importance of marriage. She was not afraid to say that people who were not monogamous were destined for hell, and she used to believe that living together without being married was a sure sign that the person was not saved!
Another acquaintance was forever criticizing the immorality of young people but did not seem to worry about her own. We were together for a picnic dinner and her daughter was embarrassed by her appearance. During our time together, she tried to pull her mother’s clothes to cover more of her body, but the material could stretch only so much.
I talked with a friend who kept bringing up the many people who are taking from the government. He was against people who received social benefits while not working and was vehemently opposed to illegal immigrants. But I later found out that his children lived independently because he had found a loophole where they could get state benefits by living separately.
Most of the people that I have mentioned so far would be considered on the right side of the political spectrum. But, it is not only the people on the right who demonstrate hypocrisy in their absolutes. The left is equally guilty of hypocrisy.
A number of years ago, I was working with a group cleaning debris from the Sandy Hook beaches. Someone started to talk about people who are destroying the habitat of birds in the area, especially the plover. I did not know too much about that particular bird, but this person was militant in their commitment to save the birds. I was aware, however, that the same person advocated for abortion until late in pregnancy. I was happy for the plover but perplexed that the person who defended birds with so much passion did not have an ounce of passion for the unborn.
As an immigrant, I am sometimes invited to participate in various discussions about immigration. It is a complicated issue and people intentionally obfuscate the reality. One of them has to do with taxes. In a recent discussion, one participant argued that all immigrants—legal and illegal—pay taxes like American citizens. What the person meant was that all of us pay sales taxes when we shop. But this person is very intelligent and must know that there are state taxes and federal taxes; if you get paid in cash, you do not pay these taxes. No one could convince this lady that there is a taxation problem within immigrant communities.
It is good to have absolutes and it is good for people to know where you stand. However, as the Bible says, “Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves.” (Romans 14:22)