Woe betide those who are wise in their own sight and prudent in their own esteem. — Isaiah 5:21, REB
People like certainty. In our world, the one thing we can count on is that horrifying thing we call “change.” Life is uncertain, unpredictable; with that in mind, it makes sense that we desperately seek something we can grasp and return to when we need to step away from the fluctuations of life.
There is nothing wrong with seeking peace. It’s good to have a strong foundation to uphold us as we engage with the world. What becomes problematic is the human tendency to allow our certainty to turn us into obstinate, closed hearted, closed minded, even cruel people.
Certainty becomes dangerous when we are so convinced of our rightness that (we) our beliefs, opinions, and truths can’t be questioned. Our standards are intentionally and impossibly placed in order to preserve what we consider to be fact.
In the U.S., our current political climate is evidence of the harm wrought from allowing certainty to close our minds, ears, and hearts (but not our mouths). Religious certainty is just as bad, making God into our personal justification station while all others must clearly be wrong or of the devil.
We can also be too certain about people. We want a short cut to having them all figured out, and we use race, nationality, religion, social status, rumors, and/or their past mistakes to form a usually biased opinion. After all, life is too complicated if we actually have to get to know someone… if we acknowledged we could be wrong.
The truth is that life is uncertain… and that needs to be okay. We are often wrong and we never have it fully figured out… and that needs to be okay. We are all on this journey together and it’s my belief that Sacredness is present in all of us, which means we have to be brave enough to take a chance on one another, even if it means risking our beloved certainty.
Peace be with you!