Edited for clarity of intent. This post wasn’t meant to be about one specific situation, but rather a type of situation, a category of interactions.
The loud ones always have an opinion don’t they? And so many of the Loud Ones are determined to impart their wisdom about morality. What you SHOULD be doing. What you SHOULD have done. How things SHOULD go.
Morality according to the Loud Ones is always full of accusations and words that conflict with actions and actions that conflict with common sense. Morality according the Loud Ones is harsh and inflexible. Have you ever seen the cartoon where a Loud One is preaching and yelling at someone to be more tolerant, and the person replies, “Your tolerance seems a little one-sided to me.” – it’s like that. Full of damnation, void of self-examination.
You know, I may never be able to meet the moral standards of the Loud Ones. I’m tolerant of the wrong things, I love people when I should be preaching to them, I make mistakes and I wind up back-peddleing. I think I’m OK with where I am, and I’m OK with not meeting their standards. Because in the end, no Loud One is going to judge me. It just isn’t between me and them. Come to think of it, that may be part of the problem. A Loud One can be a Christian, we all know churches full of them, but I think it’s easier to be a Loud One when you’re outside of the church. It’s hard for someone who doesn’t believe in an external truth and judge to understand that I do not depend on them for judgement or approval. So when it comes to personal relationships, we’re right back at the power dynamic.
The person with the least to lose in a relationship has the most power. That’s threatening to some. Particularly to Loud Ones, in my experience. If I derive my sense of self worth from God, and not from the people around me, I don’t need people they way some do. If I derive my security from God, I don’t need to control my environment the way some do. If I am able to do things independent of my peers, it can be perceived as a threat of abandonment. I’m not abandoning you, I just was never as dependent on the relationship as you were.
I can say that without any sense of superiority or anger. I bear no harsh feelings or ill will. It’s just a reality in my life. I don’t tend to have the same desperate longing for everyone to like me as someone without the stability of God.
Originally, that freedom was due to being the child of an alcoholic. Kids with alcoholic parents often have trouble attaching to people. I mean, who can you really trust? After a while, my relationship to God became the driving factor for my independence. I just didn’t need other people because I had God. But now, even when I’m trying to place a high value on relationships, I’m valuing it in a different way. I don’t surrender my power or my self. But others do. Loud Ones. They engage in relationship by trying to take power or command the room and hope that their own sense of self worth will inflate accordingly. They’re proving my childhood inclinations right. Who can you trust? No one. Not really.
But I don’t form relationships because I need people. I form them because they build up the kingdom of God. I form them because I know I can be of service to some. I form them because we are all stuck with each other on this corporeal plane.
And I’ll keep forgiving. Keep asking for forgiveness when I can see I’ve done wrong. My quiet growth doesn’t drown out the Loud Ones. Maybe it never will. But it does seem to frighten them. And for that, I just feel sad.