Finding the Right Balance

The memory is receding into the distance, but I recall a congregation that would take a minute or two to celebrate strong, constructive women on Mother’s Day. With Proverbs 31:10-31 in mind, we thanked God for strong, constructive women, and for blessing us with our mothers and through our mothers. In addition to demonstrating our love and respect, this taught that we valued their good character, leadership, and service.

However, a few people objected to celebrating strong, constructive mothers. Their mother had passed away, or was abusive, or was part of a broken home. Celebrating our mothers caused pain, brought back bad memories, or made them feel left out. So, we dialed it down and stopped celebrating.

We stopped celebrating to avoid causing offense, but this also meant that we no longer affirmed strong, constructive women. With 20-20 hindsight, maybe we could have found a way to encourage the offended people, or perhaps help heal their genuine wounds, without giving up affirmation of strong, constructive women. It was hard to find the right balance

I see this phenomenon repeating itself in other dimensions of life. For example, our police have, for the most part, demonstrated good character, leadership, and service as they work to protect our communities from those who would harm us. We call the protective shield that they provide “the thin blue line.”

However, a few people object to “the thin blue line.” They have had bad experiences with one or a few policemen, and the phrase causes pain, brings back bad memories, or makes them feel at odds with the rest of the community. Rather than making the mistake of ignoring the positive values that good police work bring to our communities, how can we affirm good police work and, at the same time, encourage and help those who find the phrase offensive? In other words, how can we find and uphold the right balance? We and our community leaders must not dodge this challenge.

2 thoughts on “Finding the Right Balance

  1. Most of us base our values on the personal experiences we or someone close to us have had. Reactions to new relationships and/or experiences often drawl forth prior experiences, good or bad. Fortunately, God’s word and maturity lead us in a more positive direction, seeing each new experience in life on the merits of the people and currant circumstances presented. The more we can focus on God’s Word, the less reactive we will be to the influence of old experiences.


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