Op­por­tu­nity to put aside two huge lies

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It’s hard to be­lieve, but we find our­selves ar­riv­ing at Easter al­ready.

The kids have had one whole term at school and the clocks have gone back. We are set­tling down for win­ter again.

In con­tem­plat­ing writ­ing this ar­ti­cle, it struck me that the more I look around, the more I see peo­ple who seem to have ‘‘taken of­fence’’ at some­thing that some­one else has said or done.

Now I don’t want to im­ply that ev­ery­one should be able to say or do ex­actly as they wish, be­cause some­times that can be down­right im­po­lite or anti-so­cial.

But it does ap­pear that so­ci­ety as a whole takes far more ‘‘of­fence’’ than is re­ally nec­es­sary.

Are we all that in­se­cure in our own per­spec­tives that we have to pull down some­one else’s to make our­selves feel bet­ter?

And is be­ing of­fended the right way to do this?

Easter is about many things to many peo­ple.

This year I’d like to sug­gest that Easter is about choices and how each of us is re­spon­si­ble for the choices we make.

We can­not blame others, we can­not pass the buck and we can­not ex­pect some­one else to pick up the pieces for our de­ci­sion mak­ing er­rors.

In scrip­ture, Christ’s cru­ci­fix­ion takes place between two thieves and dur­ing the brief con­ver­sa­tion that is held between the three men. One thief chooses to give his life to the Lord and one doesn’t.

We are not told what those gath­ered around the foot of the hill make of the de­ci­sions of the two men. We are only told of their choices.

Each chose what they be­lieved was right for them per­son­ally, and ac­cepted the con­se­quences of that de­ci­sion.

Easter is an op­por­tu­nity to put aside two huge lies that dom­i­nate our cul­ture.

The first of th­ese is that if you dis­agree with some­one’s choices, you must fear or hate them.

The sec­ond lie that we are drawn into is that in or­der to love some­one you must be in agree­ment with ev­ery­thing they choose to be­lieve in or do. Both of th­ese are non­sense. Are the choices we make go­ing to im­prove our lives, the lives of our chil­dren, or chal­lenge us to take a new path?

In our fast-paced world we too often re­spond rather than lis­ten.

We are quick to judge with­out un­der­stand­ing the back story.

We take of­fence be­cause we feel our views and be­liefs are im­pinged upon, when re­ally all we need to do is to talk to one an­other about why our views dif­fer.

I think that Easter is a time for us to con­tem­plate the choices around us, to make time to lis­ten care­fully to others and to jour­ney to­gether to­wards un­der­stand­ing, even though we may not all be­lieve the same thing.

You don’t have to com­pro­mise your con­vic­tions to be com­pas­sion­ate.

Rev­erend Richard Aitken is from St John’s Angli­can Par­ish.

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Rev­erend Richard Aitken of St John’s Church.

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