Being on the Wrong Side

What hurts the victim most is not the cruelty of the oppressor, but the silence of the bystander. ~Elie Wiesel

With a great moral issue involved, neutrality does not serve righteousness: for to be neutral between right and wrong is to serve wrong. ~Theodore Roosevelt

In modern thought there is no right or wrong side because everything is relevant. However, in this relevant world of ours, older Americans find neutrality a safe place to put up camp. For example, our children will often take a different viewpoint than we do, and to keep peace in the family, neutrality is a good place to be. I understand that for the sake of peace a neutral stand is the easy way out.

However, over the course of time, does our neutrality mean anything? No, because it takes no stand, it presents no issues, it says nothing controversial, and all it does is remain neutral on life. Is there a God? Neutrality says, “I don’t know, maybe and maybe not.” Is there a Hell? Neutrality says, “I don’t know, maybe, and maybe not.” Are there moral laws we should obey as a society? Neutrality says, “Whatever society says it wants, I guess that is okay.” When the Government says, “We know better than you do how to raise your kids, keep you safe, and pass laws that gives Government more control.” Neutrality says, “I guess the Government knows what they are doing so I will trust what they impose.”

Please bear with me for a moment as I dig a little deeper on this thought.

One of the worst ideas that has come out from our educational system is the ‘Groupthink’ philosophy.

Here is the definition: the practice of thinking or making decisions as a group in a way that discourages creativity or individual responsibility. The term Groupthink was coined by the psychologist Irving Janis in 1972, and it’s a phenomenon that takes place when a group of people make faulty decisions because the strong collective wish of working in harmony is more important than obtaining good results in an effective way.

When my children were in school, this was the prevailing format in teaching. Groups of children would work together on a project, and as a collective group they would be graded as a team for each project they completed. It was our experience that some of the children in the group did very little work, while others were the productive force. Yet, in grading, all members received the same grade. I have noticed that many young adults have a hard time making decisions today without consulting others in confirming their decisions. I believe this is a carryover from the Groupthink that was firmly implanted during their formative years. Another result of our educational system is the attitude that our kids picked up: “If you don’t agree with me, it doesn’t matter, because you are wrong.” End of discussion. So, Groupthink was the genesis of how we make decisions, and the attitude that developed was “we are right, no matter what anyone else may think.”

Many parents experienced this metamorphosis of their children and instead of fighting with them, they decided to go neutral.

When neutrality settles in over time, it not only becomes our response to our children (the ‘we are always right’ Internet generation), it also affects other areas of our lives as well. I have found many adults will not take a stand on issues, because they don’t want to be on the wrong side of things. Many adults will not stand up and fight for Moral causes either. I believe that is why we have allowed the culture to take a hard left in politics and public policy in many of our States. My parents’ generation had their problems too, but they had a completely different Value Structure than what we see today:

1. They taught respect for the older generation. Today, older people are seen as stupid and irrelevant.

2. They taught that community was defined as life-long friendships, they were not the shallow relationships of Facebook.

3. They taught hard work and a day’s wages for a day’s work, and they didn’t believe the world owed them anything.

4. They believed in family dinner times and the authority of the home. Parents were parents and you obeyed their rules. Children would not get away with treating their parents with disrespect.

5. They believed in the discipline of spanking, correction, and corporal punishment, accordingly. Children knew their place and did not use their childhood as a wedge to get their way.

Teaching children that their decisions are theirs and theirs alone is the best school of thought for personal responsibility. You don’t need a crowd of Groupthinkers to persuade you in decision making … you need to think for yourself based upon your Values of God, Family, and Country.

This metamorphosis that has happened in many families has contributed to the compromise of Values which slides into a state of neutrality.

I believe that neutrality is a dangerous place to be primarily because playing it safe does not move anything forward. If you have decided that the safest place with your adult children is to be neutral, you will never persuade them to make changes they may desperately need.

Nothing has ever been accomplished in life when we live in neutrality, pacifying everyone around us and keeping the peace. I would much rather choose a side and live it out than I would to always keep the peace by being neutral. Jesus thought so too. So, just in case you think I am going down a rabbit trail with this blog, think about what He said to the Church of Laodicea:

Revelation 3 15I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16So, because you are lukewarm - neither hot nor cold - I am about to spit you out of my mouth.

God required the Church to be either hot or cold (choose a side) because neutrality is always lukewarm. Maybe you need to rethink just how neutral you have become in your life, and you may need to put a fire beneath yourself to pick a side.

Keeping Life Honest and Truthful … Larry Kutzler

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